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 Covid-19 pandemic.
URC’s Agro-Industrial & Commodities Division is introducing two alcohol brands to the market, Shield+ and BioSure. These brands were made to provide consumers a variety of choices to suit individual preferences, 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,” said Vincent C. Go, managing director of URC Agro-Industrial Group (AIG).
He 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 P4.1 billion last year. In the first quarter of the year, sales had already soared 76 percent to P1.8 billion.
Shield+ will roll out to retail stores starting December 2020. It is available in different sizes, from a 60ml bottle for everyday commutes, to a gallon container for home and industrial use.
This pharmaceutical-grade rubbing alcohol kills 99.9 percent of germs instantly on contact and defends against over a hundred diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. It also provides vitamin E and collagen to prevent drying of the skin. Shield+ is available in two scents: Aqua Clean and Pink Fresh.
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. This naturally-sourced ethyl alcohol is available in 500-ml, 1-liter and 1-gallon bottles.
Aside from its 99.9% germ-defense formula BioSure is also enriched with tea tree essential oil that soothes the skin, keeping it smooth and moisturized, while being sanitized.
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 of both Shield+ and BioSure. 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.
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. It is widely-known for popular food and beverage brands such as Great Taste, Chippy, C2, Cream-O, Cloud 9 and Robina Farms.