SMC’s nutribuns are again fighting hunger among the Philippines’ most vulnerable

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

SMC has produced more than 600,000 of its energy-packed buns to distribute to the Philippines' most vulnerable communities. Pic: SMC
SMC has produced more than 600,000 of its energy-packed buns to distribute to the Philippines' most vulnerable communities. Pic: SMC

Related tags: San Miguel Corporation, coronavirus, Philippines, Malnutrition, Children

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is fighting hunger in the Philippines with its vitamin-packed breads it originally produced in the 1970s to be distributed primarily to public elementary school students as a complete meal, in a bid to combat malnutrition.

The Manilla-headquartered food and beverage giant decided to revive production of a reformulated nutribun to solely donate them to vulnerable sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The company recently reported production has breached 600,000 pieces, more than double the production of 284,171 during the closing weeks of April. It added it continues to produce another 29,000 nutribuns daily at its new ready-to-eat manufacturing facility in Laguna, and its Flour Development Centre in Pasig City.

“While our food donations consisting of rice and San Miguel food products continue, there are still many who have limited or no access to sufficient nutrition – the most disadvantaged in our society, especially children,”​ said Ramon S. Ang, SMC president.

“That is why we continue to work to increase production of our nutribun, so we can distribute them for free and provide essential nutrition for them.”

Energy-packed

The reformulated nutribun was developed by the company’s flour technology team and is made with San Miguel Mills’ King Hard Wheat Flour and its Star Margarine. It is twice as dense as its predecessor, containing 85g of dough versus the former’s 30g weight.

Each bun contains 250 calories and is high in dietary fibre and a good source of iron and iodine.

“It is really designed to provide energy and essential nutrients, so that our disadvantaged youth can avoid hunger and hopefully maintain good overall health during this pandemic,”​ Ang added.

“The quarantine is still far from over, and while we worry about the spread of the virus, we also cannot disregard its impact to families already saddled with poverty, whose children are the most vulnerable.”

Children most vulnerable

According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), one in three children under the age of five are stunted in growth due to lack of nutrition. Thanks to the pandemic, this figure is expected to increase dramatically.

SMC’s nutribun donations have already reached around 85 communities across the Philippines through its partnerships with various non-profit groups, including Communities Organised for Resource Allocation (CORA), Caritas, Puso ng Ama and Jesuit missions, as well as through the military, police, barangays and local health offices.

Since the start of the quarantine, SMC has conducted what has become the largest donation drive in the company’s history. It has donating P491.4bn (US$9.76bn) worth of food, including biscuits, flour, rice and other staples. It has also donated P1.1bn (US$218m) worth of medical supplies, disinfecting alcohol manufactured at its reconfigured liquor plants, and free fuel to transport frontline personnel.

Related topics: Bread, Manufacturers, Markets, COVID-19, Health

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