Prosper Ndlovu/Oliver Kazunga, Business Reporters
BULAWAYO giant cooking oil manufacturer, United Refineries Limited (URL), has added vegetable juice manufacturing to its wider product mix as it diversifies operations.
The agro-processing firm is renowned for manufacturing cooking oil, soap and stockfeed but recently introduced salad cream to its production line.
URL chief executive officer, Mr Busisa Moyo, said this week that their latest vegetable juice product was now available in selected retail outlets. While most fruit juices use concentrate and are loaded with sugar and acids, Mr Moyo said URL’s vegetable juices were “100 natural”, taking into cognisance consumer health considerations.
“There are five flavours — pure carrot, carrot infused with ginger, carrot with pineapple and pure beetroot juice,” he told Business Chronicle.
The product is packed one hour after harvest to preserve the nutritional benefits through what Mr Moyo described as the “Rugani” process.
“The Rugani process ensures that 90 percent of nutritional benefits locked up in tough carotene cell is made available, chewing only makes 10 percent, an electronic juicer only makes 50 percent available. The vegetable juice is highly bio-available for bodily and dietary benefits,” he explained.
Mr Moyo said their vegetable juice product contains cis beta carotene properties, which have cancer prevention qualities and slows down eye defects based on scientific research and highly recommended by doctors.
“It falls within the food category called nutraceuticals. The beetroot is useful for detox and is very popular,” he said, adding that the product was already available in outlets that include Food Lovers, TM and Bon Marche. The new product is set to excite the market and take Southern Africa by storm, said Mr Moyo in an earlier post on his Twitter handle. “We have just launched the product and we are still working.” He would not be drawn into disclosing the amount invested into the new production.
Towards the end of last year, URL announced that it had expanded its range as a food and grocery products manufacturer, focusing on servicing local, regional as well as international markets.
The Bulawayo-based agro-processing concern intends to position itself as a dominant food and grocery manufacturer in Southern Africa.
In 2017, the company re-introduced its old lines of Image Soap, FreshHealth Joy and Vogue, which had been constrained by lack of raw materials due to the prevailing foreign currency challenges.
However, prioritisation of the manufacturing sector by Government through various measures encouraged URL to expand its range as a food and grocery products manufacturer.
Mr Moyo is on record as saying URL has big plans to transform itself from a two-product firm (soap and oil) into a fully-fledged food and grocery products producer focused on servicing local and regional markets.
URL has been in existence for over 85 years. Going forward, the manufacturing company intends to position itself as a dominant food and grocery manufacturer in Southern Africa.