H&C News meets with suppliers regularly to keep up to date with the latest product and service innovations, aiming to get the inside track on what companies offer to the market and how it is delivered.
This week, we met with Simon Aspin, commercial director of Hubbard Systems, the company that markets Scotsman icemakers in the UK, at their offices near Ipswich in Suffolk, to find out what’s happening with ice.
“The simple truth is, we are using way more ice than we ever used to. If your supply of ice goes down, it’s serious: customers expect ice. If there isn’t any, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Yet when it comes to planning a new hotel, restaurant, club or pub, the ice machine is often an afterthought. It’s the Cinderella of the design.
“The market’s attitude needs to catch up with what’s happening to ice. Ice is critical to many venues’ success – so the machine needs to be considered with the same significance as any other critical appliance, and it needs to be considered at the start of the planning, not at the end.
“Plus, operators need to understand ice more. Many think ice is ice. It’s not. For a start, there’s ice cubes and flake ice. Entirely different beasts, for entirely different purposes. And as demand for ice grows, different applications are emerging, which need different ice types. Customer expectations have changed, they expect lots of different options and they expect them with ice.
“For example, the best ice for a classic drink on the rocks, like a G&T, is gourmet or supercube ice. It’s hard, clear and long-lasting. On the other hand, it’s not good for blender blades, because it’s so hard. So if you’re making cocktails or smoothies in a blender, used a softer ice, such as dice or Superdice.
“The biggest ice trend in the USA is nugget ice. It’s very eco-friendly, because it wastes less water than conventional ice cubes. It’s also versatile – it can be used to chill drinks and for food presentation. Nugget ice machines produce lots of ice from a small footprint. Plus the cubes are blender-friendly. For all these reasons, more and more operators are switching to nugget ice.
“Another key trend is the use of modular machines, with separate ice storage bins, as opposed to undercounter ones with integral ice bins. Scotsman makes more types of modular icemaker than any other manufacturer. (As it happens, they also make more types of undercounter machines than anyone else).
“We offer Scotsman modular machines making over six different ice types – including gourmet cubes, dice cubes, nugget ice, cubelet ice, flake and Superflake. We also supply a huge a variety of ice storage bins, as well as ancillary products such as transport systems. So there’s a machine for every application.
“One of our latest products is the Ice Duo. This sits two modular icemakers on top of a single storage bin, which has a divider in it. It allows operators to make two different types of ice – such as gourmet and nugget – all in a compact footprint.
“Because we specialise in ice, we’re maybe a bit nerdy about it. We love ice! So if an operator, dealer or consultant has any kind of question about ice, we’ve got experts at the end of a phone who are really happy to help. And it’s not an automatic machine, it’s a person who answers. We get a lot of positive comments about that.
“Our website is full of useful info, too, including our Guide to Ice Varieties, which is available to download for free.”
H & C News comment
It was a real pleasure to witness the passion for ice that runs through Simon and team at Hubbard, also picked up some great tips for how to use and choose the right ice for events and parties we hold. If you use ice at your hospitality venue we suggest Hubbard are well worth a call.
Contact our friendly ice experts:
Hubbard Systems, Unit 106, Claydon Business Park, Great Blakenham, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP6 0NL
Visit our website here