URL ventures into mealie meal making

URL ventures into mealie meal making
Published: 28 June 2018
UNITED Refineries Limited has added mealie-meal to its wider product mix as part of an aggressive diversification drive.

The agro-processing firm is renowned for manufacturing cooking oil, soap and stockfeed but recently introduced salad cream and vegetable juice to its production line.

Chief executive, Mr Busisa Moyo, said the new production unit was part of strategies to grow the business and meet market expectation with a bias towards consumer health interests. The URL mealie meal will be fortified in keeping with the country's nutritional standards.

"We now have our mealie meal, which is also fortified. So, we have that slant…that's the focus of the day, a new look label, representing our fortified cooking oil and launch of our mealie meal brand, which is a new product," he told Business Chronicle. The Roil mealie meal is probably among the first fortified in the country. The fortification requirement is not common in Zimbabwe although widely embraced by other global players.

"We will be looking at more ways in which to improve people's health on this particular unit. I don't want to give away my secret but we will be combining soya-meal with mealie-meal to create protein. It's important to add protein because this is just starch and it's not body building," said Mr Moyo. He said going forward URL would scale its fortification efforts.

"So, we are going towards that direction. At the core of our strategy is how we can get more protein. Cooking oil is just energy, now we have added Vitamin.

The protein side we have not yet played well although we are doing protein for animal feed."

Mr Moyo said URL was adopting a strategy that was focused on what he called "nutra-ceutical foods", which is a model that combines pharmaceutical and nutritional aspects in food production."That's the direction, we want our food to be health-enhancing and not just taste like what many are doing. That's at the core of our strategy. At the end of the day people are concerned about nutrition.

"We are putting all that so that everybody can access health throughout our product range. We are already doing that well in our hygiene side through our soaps." While most fruit juices use concentrate and are loaded with sugar and acids, Mr Moyo has 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 said earlier.

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, Fresh Health Joy and Vogue, which had been constrained by lack of raw materials due to the prevailing foreign currency challenges.
- chroncile
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