TOKYO >> Tokyo ice maker Onoda-Shoten has increased production of ornamental ice blocks in an effort to boost summer sales amid the pandemic.
Before COVID-19 hit, the Kita ward-based company produced about 80 tons of ice daily during the peak summer season for restaurants and other establishments. One purpose was for making kakigori shaved ice, a summer treat.
But sales dropped 50% in 2021 when restaurants and other businesses shortened business hours due to pandemic measures.
This year, Onoda-Shoten is focusing on creating the ice ornaments by encasing artificial flowers and other items in ice blocks at its factory in Arakawa.
The company said the vivid colors of the artificial flowers stand out through the transparent ice, making the ornaments popular as gifts.
“We want people to enjoy the refreshing cool air from the ice and the beauty of the object at the same time,” said Keiichi Ogura of Onoda-Shoten’s sales department.