By Sachin David
Cargills Ceylon Plc launched a brand new range of biscuits under the group’s highly credible flagship brand Kist.
The move follows Cargills Quality Confectionaries Ltd. early this year taking over an ailing company formally known as Diana Biscuits, thus ensuring the livelihood of its workers.
Stuart Young, the South African born Chairman of Cargills Quality Confectionaries, stated that the main aim of this venture was to increase their stake in the Food and Beverage industry and make Cargills Quality Confectionaries the largest food and beverage group in Sri Lanka.
“All Sri Lankans love their biscuits and they are available in up to 98% of Sri Lankan retail stores. This was more than enough incentive for us to go into this market,” Young said. He added: “The main reason I am in Sri Lanka is because I have absolute confidence in this country and in our company.”
Deputy Chairman of Cargills Lanka Plc. Ranjit Page said his company decided to buy the dying company in order to ensure that the jobs of the factory workers were secure.
“We bought the facility in order to make certain that it remains in the hands of a Sri Lankan company. Our biscuits will energise and revitalise the biscuit industry,” Page added.
Further commenting on the investment made by the group, Page said, “In the new environment we fully expect the economy to grow at double digits. This will translate into higher per capita income which in turn will drive a rapid improvement in the lifestyles of Sri Lankans, particularly the youth.
There are vast opportunities for the FMCG business especially in the Food and Beverage industry. Cargills intends to capitalise on this to ensure our vision of being the largest player in the Food and Beverage industry to benefit our consumers and indeed the nation.
The launch range consists of a variety of six biscuits including KIST Cream Crackers, KIST Lemon Puff, KIST Vanilla Wafers, KIST Chocolate Cream, KIST Nice and KIST Marie.
Cargills has made an initial investment of Rs.350 million and intends to add another Rs.500 million to that in time to come.
The Biscuit Industry is currently worth a total of Rs.25 billion, and a total of 55,000 metric tonnes of biscuits are produced per annum.
The Kist biscuit factory is capable of producing 10,000 metric tonnes of biscuits per annum.
According to Cargills officials KIST biscuits have been in the market for a week now and the sales have totalled up to 50% of the overall biscuits sold in that week.