Manufacturing Opportunities Visible in United's Kristal Ball

United Supermarkets is capitalizing on the success of store brands with its new Kristal brand of ice.

LUBBOCK, Texas — United Supermarkets is capitalizing on the success of store brands with its new Kristal brand of ice.

Produced with 100% reverse-osmosis water derived through a five-step purification process, the product is the first corporate brand item the retailer has produced itself.

"Once our plant is paid for and we're not servicing that debt we'll be able to make our product cheaper than paying someone else to do it," United spokesman Eddie Owens told SN.

The retailer is shopping its new product around to food service providers, and has identified possible opportunities with schools, Owens said. United held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new 9,000 square-foot plant yesterday. The $4 million facility was made possible, in part, by grants from the Lubbock Economic Development Allliance.

Ice was a good fit for United, since it's a commodity product, said Edward Kitten, director of manufacturing for United. "We were looking for a manufacturing opportunity that wasn't as complicated as other future ventures might be," he said.

The retailer is also considering producing Kristal bottled water at the plant.

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