Ice makers market is gaining momentum with the widening range of commercial applications of ice makers in the food & beverage industry. The manufacturing and marketing strategies adopted by the leading market players active in the ice makers market depend on the versatility of end-user applications of ice makers in the food & beverage industry. Manufacturers are introducing a variety of categories of ice makers, which include cube-type ice makers, automatic commercial ice makers, batch-type ice makers, air-cooled ice makers, and water-cooled ice makers, to target a large number of end-users. According to the Energy Star, a voluntary program introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), purchasing behavior of consumers is mainly driven by the end-user applications and energy efficiency of ice makers.
Energy efficiency of ice makers is becoming an important factor to influence the sales in developed economies such as the U.S. and Europe. Consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of improving the energy efficiency of food equipment, which can also result in reducing the operating costs of equipment such as ice makers. Taking into account the factors that are prominently driving purchasing decisions of consumers, manufacturers and distributors of ice makers are adopting innovating manufacturing and marketing strategies that reduce the energy consumption of ice makers. Thereby, the demand for energy-efficient and application-specific ice makers is expected to remain high in the food & beverage industry.
Future of Food Industry and Restaurants Industry Indicates Rising Demand for Ice Makers
Refrigerating systems are used in various industrial applications such as food preservation, distinct heating and cooling applications, medical processes, and energy-related applications. Taking into account the importance of industrial refrigeration processes, leading manufacturer in the ice makers market are making products for their specific commercial applications. Among all the other industries where ice makers are used, QSR (quick service restaurant) industry remains the biggest end-user industry owing to the numerous food and beverage applications of ice makers. Depending on the changing lifestyle and dietary habits of consumers, the number of food chains, restaurants, and cafes is likely to increase rapidly in the upcoming years. The growth parameters of the QSR industry will influence the expansion of the ice makers market in the near future.
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The National Restaurant Association stated that the restaurant industry witnesses the sales of over US$ 683 billion across around 1 million locations in the year 2014. Later, with the improvements in the global economy, increased discretionary income, and fast-paced consumer lifestyle, the restaurant industry grew at a rapid pace. Excellent growth of the QSR industry is likely to augment the growth of the ice makers market. In addition, the changing growth parameters of the food retailing sector and increasing popularity of e-Commerce, use of ice makers for food preservation is likely to upsurge in the next few years.
A Wide Range of Commercial Applications to Induce Demand for Energy-efficient Ice Makers
Owing to the increasing demand for ice in food and beverage applications, demand for ice is likely to remain high among restaurants, bars, cafes, and other types of food chains. The rapid growth of the QSR (quick service restaurant) industry is further widening the range of commercial applications of ice makers, boosting the growth of the ice makers market. Manufacturers are introducing a variety of ice makers according to the consumer needs associated with the types of ice, such a crushed, nugget, flaked, cubed, and diced ice. According to the food and beverage applications, manufacturers are producing ice makers to meet the exact needs of consumers.
As commercial applications of ice makers outnumber their non-commercial or residential applications, demand for ice makers with high capacities is more. Consumers are critical about their choice of the air compressor and cooling mechanisms of ice makers. Above all, due to the increasing electricity prices and environmental concerns, energy consumption of ice makers remains the primary factor that may influence consumers’ decisions the most. Manufacturers are adopting technological solutions to optimize the use of electricity in ice makers and offer energy-efficient ice makers to attract a larger consumer base. Apart from producing energy-efficient ice makers, manufacturers in the ice makers market are offering ice maker accessories, such as ice scoops, ice totes, and ice caddies, to stand out in the cutthroat competition in the market.
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Growing Investments in Finding Alternatives for HCFC to be an Emerging Trend in the Ice Makers Market
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are among the most extensively used refrigerants in air cooling systems as well as in refrigerating systems. However, HCFC-22 has been added to the list of Ozone-depleting substances by the EPA (the United States Environment Protection Agency). Under Section 609 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA has imposed some rules to control the release of HCFC-22 through refrigerating systems such as ice makers. Not just in the U.S., but the European Commission as developed some regulations and standards to limit the use and emission of HCFC-22. Both EPA and European Commission have stated that the production and imports of HCFC-22 will be phased out completely, by 2020. Furthermore, the production, import, and use of HCFC-22 in ice makers will be banned by 2030, which may make a huge impact on the development of the ice makers market.
Leading manufacturers in the ice makers market are making investments in its R&D capacities to discover environment-friendly alternatives to HCFCs. EPA allows the use of Ozone-friendly HCFCs and other eco-friendly alternatives of HCFC-22 in ice makers under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP). Also, increasing environmental awareness among consumers is influencing their purchasing decisions. Subsequently, manufacturers in the ice maker market are making efforts to produce eco-friendly and energy efficient ice makers to attract more consumers.
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