Universal Robina Corporation (URC), one of the country’s largest food and beverage firms, is diversifying into the production of pharmaceutical-grade rubbing alcohol amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, URC said its Agro-Industrial & Commodities Division is introducing two alcohol brands to the market to give consumers a choice to suit individual preferences.
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,” said URC Agro-Industrial Group (AIG) Managing Director Vincent C. Go.
With almost 413,000 infections and at least 8,000 people who have died from the coronavirus, Go said rubbing alcohol “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 and this demand will likely remain, even after the pandemic subsides.
The alcohol category was valued at P4.1 billion last year. In the first quarter of the year, sales had already soared 76 percent to P1.8 billion.
URC said their alcohol brand Shield+ will roll out to retail stores starting December 2020 while it has started distributing its other alcohol brand 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 ensures the continuous supply of Ethanol, which is the primary ingredient. This guarantees two key values for consumers, namely consistent quality and reliability of supply. 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.