The Sri Lanka Food Processors Association recently held its 22nd Annual General Meeting at the Winchester Hall of the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo. Founded in 1997 as an advocacy group, the Sri Lanka Food Processors’ Association currently consists of over 130 member companies, which include large and multi-national, as well as small and medium enterprises (SME’S) committed to the development of the country’s processed food and beverage industry.
The Association consists of members from all relevant sub sectors addressing issues such as national policy and regulations, intra-regional cooperation, technology, knowledge transfers and marketing. The Association further offers leadership to the small but vibrant National Processed Food Industry, which is vital to the island nation’s agro based economy and directly employs over three hundred thousand persons, while supporting over four million back stream producers.
The Association’s new main Committee comprises of Nishan Perera – President, Damitha Perera – 1st Vice President, Thusith Wijesinghe – 2nd Vice President, Wasantha Chandrapala – 3rd Vice President, Aruna Senanayake – Secretary, Lasantha Ratnayake – Assistant Secretary, Nadishan Guruge –Treasurer, Amila Weerasinghe – Assistant Treasurer, Sarath Alahakoon – Immediate Past President, Delano Dias – President Elect and Maliek De Alwis – Past President . The rest of the committee members are Sanjeewa De Silva, Jayanga Perera, Dilanga De Fonseka, Hemantha Balasuriya, Ruwan Kumara, Sameera Jayathilaka, Roshan Ranawaka, Dilan Gonawala, Rasika Seniviratne and Kolitha Amarasinghe
The keynote speaker at the occasion was Frank Hess, the Head of Development Corporation of the European Union in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka. In his address Hess spoke on the topic of “Opportunities for Sri Lankan Food Processors in the EU market”, commenting on the fact that the EU market, which comprises EU and the European Economic Zone is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner with a share of 16% of total trade in 2018. According to Hess, nearly 30% of Sri Lanka’s total exports valued at 2.8 billion EUR go to Europe. With 500 million consumers EU has a 75 billion EUR F&B import market with an annual projected increase of 2 – 3 %, making it the world’s largest single market.
“Surveys by Eurobarometer in 2019 indicate that Food origin is the most important criteria followed by price, food safety, taste, nutritional content and ethics in determining purchases for F&B products. Pleasure, health, physical convenience and ethics, on demand delivery, clean label, veganism and vegetarianism, personalized nutrition, value addition, fortification, farm to fork traceability, fair production, linked to Corporate Social Responsibility and decent labor are some of the important consumer trends. Consumer awareness on food safety is foreseen to increase. Regarding labelling and packaging, EU consumers support the transition to circular economy comprising reusability, recyclability or compostability. Innovation and technology play an important role ending up with food waste management”, stated Hess.