Japan’s beverage and ice cream firms invest to avoid summer meltdown

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream

Avoiding a meltdown: Japanese ice cream and beverage companies are organising power for summer
Avoiding a meltdown: Japanese ice cream and beverage companies are organising power for summer
Beverage and ice cream manufacturers are investing in power alternatives at Japanese facilities, as the tentative electricity network will not see a major uptick this summer.

Last year, Japan was gripped by a severe power shortage, that blind-sided beverage and ice cream companies who saw production and sales levels suffer heavily consequently.

The shortages came in the wake of a government call to reduce electricity usage, worsened by network suspensions following the March 2011 earthquake and Fukushima disaster.

This summer, however, Japanese beverage and ice cream firms are determined to avoid a repeat in sales and production dips during a peak season.

Firms are investing in onsite power generating options as well as improved, energy-efficient facilities, industry sources said.

Empowering investments

Morinaga Milk Industry, a large local ice-cream player, said in a statement that it will introduce more energy-efficient freezers and set up power generators.

“We think it is the right time to make such an investment. We will recover our costs in the long run as well as prepare ourselves for any catastrophe that may hinder power supply,”​ a Morinaga spokesperson told FoodNavigator-Asia.

Kirin Brewery is installing a 700m yen natural gas power plant at its factory in the Shiga Prefecture, expected to be completed by July, that once complete,  will generate 3,650 kWh of power; covering around 60% of the plant's power consumption, thus ensuring year round operations for the factory, he said.

A Kirin spokesperson said that the company had also renovated cooling facilities  at its Nagoya plant at a cost of 1.5bn yen, a move set to reduce overall power consumption by about 30%.

Wider industry investments

According to local media reports, Asahi Breweries has signed a contract to rent portable power generators.

The Japanese beverage firm said that it is considering injecting 1bn yen into the installation of power generators in its major plants in the Tokyo area. It added that it will strengthen its emergency and back-up power facilities are Suntory Holdings and Takara Shuzo.

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