Sri Lanka’s oldest confectionery manufacturer has forayed into biscuits with an Rs.500m ($3m) investment and a strategy to compete with top tier companies within 10 years.
According to Mintel, Sri Lanka’s biscuit industry is currently largely duopolistic, with two leading players holding 90% of the market share – Ceylon Biscuits with a 62% market share and Maliban Biscuits with 28%.
However, S. Quintus Perera, Unswatte’s chairman and MD, believes his company’s foray into biscuits will generate Rs. 2bn ($12m) per annum within 10 years. Its confectionery business currently generates Rs. 2bn ($12m).
Realizing a dream
“My father, the company’s founder chairman – the late P.J.C Perera (Christy) – had a dream to manufacture and supply premium quality biscuits to the Sri Lankan consumer,” said Quintus Perera.
“We are entering the market after properly analysing the prevailing outlook and ascertaining vital facts and statistics through a survey commissioned by us. It revealed that there is an untapped vacuum of 10% in the biscuit market space.
“We’re confident that we can fill this vacuum and drive ahead to compete with top-tier companies within 10 years,” he added.
“Uswatte has a 62-year history in the confectionery landscape in Sri Lanka and our staff are determined to go the extra mile in making sure that we reach the zenith of biscuit manufacturing within the specified time frame.”
According to Mintel, Sri Lanka’s 20 million population has one of the highest per capita consumption of biscuits in Asia with approximately 2-3 kg per person eaten each year.
Sweet biscuit launches are overpowering savory ones, which also reinforces the Sri Lankans sweet tooth mentality.
The new Uswatte Golden Biscuits range includes three Hard Dough biscuits – Cream Cracker, Marie and Lemon Puff – and three Soft Dough biscuits – Chocolate Cream, Nice and Shorties.
The company has a 100,000 sq.ft. factory in Millaniya, with space to expand operations to meet the demand for the biscuits.
Founded by brothers Christie and Anton Perera in 1956 in Ratmalana, Uswatte’s confectionery portfolio includes the company’s Glucorasa brand, as well as Tipi Tip, Wafers, Party, Peppermint, Jelly, Glucolife, Fruit Candy and Jumbo Peanuts.
The range is available in over 80,000 sales outlets on the island, as well as exported to the UK, Australia, Canada, India, Italy, France, Japan, Seychelles and the Maldives.