MANILA – Universal Robina Corporation (URC), one of the country’s largest food firms, is diversifying into pharmaceutical-grade rubbing alcohol to support the country’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
URC’s Agro-Industrial & Commodities Division is introducing two alcohol brands to the market, Shield+ and BioSure, as purchase behavior for this category has evolved due to the new normal.
URC La Carlota Distillery in Negros Occidental, part of URC’s Sugar and Renewables (SURE) unit, will supply the alcohol ingredient in the long term.
“This is aligned with our core values of looking after the Filipino community, in light of the ongoing pandemic. We have the capability, and we want to help. There’s demand out there. It just makes sense,” URC Agro-Industrial Group (AIG) managing director Vincent Go said in a statement Tuesday.
Go said with almost 413,000 infections and at least 8,000 people who have died from the coronavirus, Shield+ “is one of our answers, our help to somehow curb the spread of the virus and offer protection to our shoppers and consumers”.
The pandemic has led to high demand for hygiene and sanitation products, including rubbing alcohol. That demand will likely remain even after the pandemic subsides.
The alcohol category was valued at PHP4.1 billion last year. In the first quarter of the year, sales had already soared 76 percent to PHP1.8 billion.
Shield+ will roll out to retail stores starting December 2020.
URC started distributing BioSure to its growing community stores (Kabalikat Village Hubs) and institutions early November and will distribute to its agri-dealers nationwide by December this year.
The total manufacturing process of both brands are directly managed by URC — from sourcing of raw materials from its sugar mills, to distilling, to bottling of the finished products.
URC La Carlota has an integrated sugar mill and bio-ethanol distillery complex that produces bio-ethanol fuel products from sugarcane. It is URC’s second ethanol plant, which it acquired from Roxas Holdings Inc.
URC is engaged in an array of food-related businesses, including the production and distribution of branded consumer snack foods and beverages; commodities such as sugar and flour; and agro-industrial businesses. (PR)
Source: Philippines News Agency