Without fail, there is one place that becomes frantically busy when the summer season strikes, and increasingly busier with the rise in temperature -- the ice factory.
At the ice factory in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, run by food company Pulmuone, blocks of ice are inspected, cut up and shipped out to retailers.
Orders doubled the usual amount in recent days, according to production manager Ko Myung-ho at the Pulmuone factory.
“Last summer, we had a severe shortage of ice,” he said. “This year, we’ve increased production by about 30 metric tons.”
And still, the frozen chunks are selling like, er, hotcakes. This summer has been as scorching as ever, with temperatures rising as high as 36 degrees Celsius in Daegu.
Last year, Pulmuone sold around 15 billion won ($13.3 million) of ice. This year, it expects to sell around 20 billion won worth of ice.
One reason behind the massive demand for ice can be found in the sales of ice cups sold in convenience stores.
According to BGF Retail, which operates the convenience store chain CU, ice cups were the second most sold goods last year, following cigarettes. The company also said that sales had risen by about 50 percent compared to last July.
Nowadays, consumers are not only ordering iced drinks at cafes, but making their own iced beverages at convenience stores using ice cups and the soft drink of their choice, reports say.
Pulmuone’s Ko says the factory is running at full capacity these days. The chunks of ice are refrigerated, then transported via freezer-equipped trucks.
Photographed by Park Hyun-koo
Written by Rumy Doo