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Sri Lanka participates at Grocery Innovation Canada (GIC) 2019

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Sri Lanka Pavilion at Grocery Innovation Canada 2019


Sri Lanka Export Development Board organised an export promotional mission to Toronto, Canada, from 20 to 23 October 2019, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Consulate in Toronto. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka partnered with the Economic Diplomacy Program (EDP) to enable the successful organising of a Sri Lanka Pavilion at GIC.

Nine Sri Lankan companies – Bio Foods Ltd., Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Food & Nature Ltd., Hero Nature Products Ltd., Kandrick Tea Beverages Lanka, Jayalanka Suppliers, Waguruwela Oil Mills Ltd., Samanala Natural Foods Ltd. and Sayaladu Coco Products Ltd. – participated in the program to promote Sri Lankan products, i.e value-added organic coconut kernel products, confectioneries, tea, herbal tea, sesame and dried fruit products under the ‘Food and Beverages’ and ‘Spices and Concentrates’ sectors, which were chosen as EDB focus sectors under the National Export Strategy (NES). 

The program included a one-day market orientation program and a Sri Lankan products display at the GIC. Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Canada Asoka Girihagama and Consul General Kaplia Jayaweera also visited the pavilion, invigorating the participants.

The GIC is one of the most popular trade shows and conferences in the Canadian grocery industry, attracting many retailers, buyers, importers, distributors and wholesalers. A B2B program with leading buyers such as Costco, Loblaws, Save on Foods and Longos in Canada was arranged for the Sri Lankan participants with the assistance of Canadian Marketing Consultant Peter Murphy, who had conducted an awareness seminar in Colombo on July 2018. The participants found an excellent opportunity to establish contacts with importers specialising in Asian Foods. 

This is Sri Lanka’s first time participating at the GIC, resulting in approximately 100 potential trade inquiries. In addition, it was an excellent platform for gaining knowledge on product innovations. 

During the market orientation program and information session organised with the assistance of Murphy and the Sri Lankan Consulate in Canada, the group visited traditional supermarket chains as well as ethnic stores to study market and consumer trends. 

The promotional mission was organised as a follow-up program to the seminar held in 2018, the objective of which was to promote trade and economic co-operation between Sri Lanka and Canada. This export promotional program series will guide Sri Lankan exporters to develop new business linkages with Canadian business decision makers.

Sri Lanka’s total exports to Canada has increased continuously in the last five years, from a value of $171 million in 2014 to $210 million in 2018. Approximately 25% of total exports to Canada are from processed Foods and Beverage and Spices and Concentrates sectors. Ethnic foods, healthy foods and plant-based foods are new trends in the Canadian food sector, where consumers expect quality products for fair prices.

The EDB will organise a country promotion and B2B meetings program in 2020 in collaboration with Sri Lanka Consulate in Toronto as a follow-up to this promotional program.

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