San Miguel Corp., through its packaging unit, has developed a packaging solution that will extend the life of carabao’s milk without preservatives, which is seen to improve the product’s marketability and potentially jumpstarting the growth of the carabao industry.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang made the announcement months after the company first helped carabao farmers cooperatives mitigate financial losses at the height of pandemic restrictions last year by buying their excess milk inventory.The carabao milk purchased was donated by SMC to poor communities.
Ang said that for the past few months, SMC’s San Miguel Packaging Group had been working to help carabao farmers find a solution on how to preserve the freshness of their product.
Recently, the company was able to finalize a packaging solution using “retort” technology. The process allows fresh carabao milk to be sterilized in aluminum cans without the need for preservatives. The process extends carabao milk’s shelf life for up to six months.
“This will be a major boost for carabao farmers and the carabao industry in general. The main limitation—perishability–that kept farmers from maximizing their income and growing their business, has been solved. Now, their products can be sold to more consumers in more markets,” Ang said.
“Carabao milk is very nutritious so there is a big market for it. We see this as potentially jumpstarting growth of the carabao industry. We look forward to continue helping them in any way we can to further grow their industry,” he added.
Ang said that the company invested in new equipment at its beverage filling facility in San Fernando, Pampanga, to equip it for the new retort process. The process can also be used for other beverage products, including tea, coffee, soya, and other milk-based products.
While the retort process is new to the company, the aluminum cans it has been producing have long been capable of being used for retort.