Hello guys, I would provide a brief tutorial as to what snow ice is since I have had a lot of requests for information regarding this item.
Snow ice in general is pretty much simply put flavored ice. Snow ice block ice are made in a slightly different type of block ice maker than the ones we normally use for shave ice. The machines freeze the flavored ice in a much shorter time span than that of a regular block ice. The shave ice machine you use to shave it is no different from a standard block ice shaver.
To make your own snow ice block, first you will need milk powder. The powdered milk is mixed together with sugar and water then blended together. This is how you make the standard "milk" flavor for snow ice. If you wanted to make other tastes (mango, lychee, strawberry..) all you would do is add concentrates to the premixed milk formula. Some packets already come premixed with milk powder and the flavor of your choice so you don't have to mix it separately. Because of the milk and sugar content of the block ice, that is how the ice comes out to be "wavey". Be aware as to where you buy your packets from. Quality of snow ice blocks varies greatly and make sure the manufacture you purchase it from does not skimp on ingredients. The block of ice you use will make or break your sales since everything depends on it. You would also need to purchase fresh fruits to compliment your flavored ice.
Snow ice is somewhat of a fad here in Hawaii, but since shave ice is a local icon most people stick to shave ice. The downsides of producing snow ice are not only is the cost of it high, it is also messy. Average blocks of snow ice are sold for roughly $5.00 here, and that is for a very small block of ice. People charge around $4-5.00s a bowl here and in this economy it is not a easy sell unless you have a huge Asian population in your area. The blocks of ice are sugared, so when shaving the ice, the sugar will splash everywhere causing it to be quite messy and sticky around your machine. Another issue is the milk. Any surface that gets in contact with dairy products need to be sanitized and be kept clean or else you would have a major health problem with spoiled dairy. Some people are allergic to milk so you may need to make sure that you have warnings on that as well.
In whole, it is not too bad of a idea if you have a large asian population in your area. In terms of market trend, it seems to be going up sharply, however in my opinion I believe it will start to become over saturated (like yogurt) and the high costs of of the product itself will be detrimental to the product in the long run. I foresee this to be a niche item in the future, sort of like what yogurt was back then before it explded and not go mainstream like sno cones, shave ice, and ice cream.
(My opinions are strictly my personal observations for the past several years. I have been to Taiwan to examine this product up close and did extensive research on it as well as spoke to manufactures regarding this product. My suggestions may be biased and any constructive opposition is welcomed!)
If any one has experiences with this type of shave ice, feel free to share your thoughts