Sri Lankan Food and Beverages

The global trends moving towards health-conscious consumers, exports currently include processed food and other value added products including organic, environmental friendly, sugar free and low salted products.

Sri Lanka’s agricultural practices, agro industries and manufacturing companies have expanded their product range to meet these demands and products meet global quality standards in processing, packaging and green manufacturing.

Most of the Sri Lanka’s processed food items available at local and global markets are made out of locally grown fruit, grains and vegetable. By combining local ingredients and culinary knowledge with international technologies and standards, Sri Lankan food manufacturers have succeeded in presenting the world with easy, yet nutritious food solutions.

Working with seasonal fruit varieties abundant in the local agricultural markets, Sri Lankan processed food manufacturers have successfully developed a variety of ready-to-serve beverages, fruit juices and pulps, dehydrated and frozen fruit, canned fresh fruit, cordial, marmalade and jam with low or no sugar.

Sri Lankan Food Manufacturers & Suppliers offer processed fruits, vegetables and juices, confectionery and bakery products, processed food, rice and cereals, animal feed, and residues of the milling industry while Sri Lankan Beverage Manufacturers & Suppliers (besides tea) export mineral water, bottled drinking water and alcoholic beverages.

The range of items produced under the food and beverage industry are varied with products such as Tea, Coconut,(as traditional products) Processed vegetables, Fruits and juices, Processed food, Spice based products, Rice and cereals, Confectionery and bakery products, Pre cooked/ frozen food, Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, Natural sweeteners (Kitul / coconut / Palmyrah ), Bee honey, Dairy products, Fish/meat based products, Animal feed etc., intended for the local and export markets.

Meanwhile, a number of Sri Lankan beverage manufacturers too are providing uniquely local beverage solution to the global market including bottled coconut water, iced tea and alcoholic beverages like arrack, beer and wine.

Arrack is Sri Lankan’s answer to Scotland’s whiskey or France’s cognac. Sri Lanka is the world’s largest producer of coconut arrack, which is one of the few alcoholic beverages that is produced through the fermentation and distillation of a single ingredient.

The top 5 distilleries in Sri Lanka produce nearly 50 million litters of arrack annually and a larger portion is exported to European and American countries. Ceylon Arrack is quite comparable to rum with distinct floral and vanilla notes and is smooth enough to be mixed into a range of cocktails.


Processed Fruit, Vegetable and Juice

Processed fruit manufacturers & suppliers in Sri Lanka offer fruit in pieces, pulp, juice, preserves, and dehydrated form.

Packaged attractively in cans, bottles, pouches and cartons for the retail market, they are also offered in bulk form for the food connoisseurs, hoteliers and others in the food trade. The most popular varieties of fruits that are processed are pineapple, mango, papaya, melons, guavas; they are within the top ten processed forms with other seasonal fruits such as rambuttan, mangosteen etc. showing an increasing trend.

exported to the UK, USA, Australia, Spain and the Maldives. Processed foods are also enjoyed by consumers worldwide in the form of tropical fruit dessert supplements and in instant soup and rice mixes.

Sri Lankan gherkins are used to make the world famous McDonalds burgers. Gherkins preserved in brine and vinegar are high demand products worldwide; Japan is the largest market for Sri Lankan gherkins followed by Australia, the Netherlands and Thailand. These value-added gherkins are bottled and exported to international fast food chains, restaurants, hotels and supermarkets.

Processed vegetable manufacturers & suppliers in Sri Lanka export local favourites such as okra, drum sticks, manioc and young jack which have gained a permanent place of culinary interest in the Middle East and France.

Sri Lankan fruit juice manufacturers & suppliers export fruit juices extracted from passion fruit, papaya and pineapple that show great potential to take over the hearts and taste buds of consumers worldwide. Delicious canned fruit juices are exported in glass jars and in tins. Pineapple juice in light syrup, sliced pineapples, pieces, chunks and mixed fruits are shared with the world.

Processed vegetables are offered in chilled or frozen forms and are destined to the ethnic communities in Europe, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and others. Brined and dehydrated forms are also exported. Sri Lankan gherkins-in-brine are used in a popular multinational food chain for their fast food preparations. Tomato Paste and purees is another popular export item used by the food industry.

Rice and Cereal Based Products

For centuries, Sri Lanka’s staple food has been rice, most consuming it three times a day. As a result it is said that ancient Sri Lankan kings had giants who “moved mountains” in their clans. In recent times, with developments in agro technology, new varieties of high yielding and hence cheaper varieties of rice were developed, but these are low in terms of nutritional quality and taste.

export traditional varieties such as Kalu Heenati, Suwadel, Rathudel, Madathawalu, Hetadha Wee, Pachchaperumal, Ma-Wee, Kuruluthuda in increasing volumes.

Sri Lankan traditional health rice varieties such as suwadal, alhal, rathhal as well as red basmati, a healthy rice for diabetic patients ± are popular in international markets.

Sri Lankan Cereal Products manufacturers & suppliers export brown rice, kurakkan, rice flour, maize flour, black gram flour and wheat flour to the Maldives, Switzerland, New Zealand, and France.

Asian and other nearby regions source a major portion of Sri Lankan rice and cereal; major buyers include Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, UAE and Maldives.

Confectionery and Bakery Products

a high export growth and an increasing demand across five continents.Sri Lankan bakery and confectionery products manufacturers & suppliers mainly produce and export cocoa butter and powder, Sweet biscuits, Chocolates, Sugar confectionery, Jaggery and Kitul treacle.

Our cocoa is among the best in the world and cocoa butter is exported for its high quality as a main ingredient for the chocolate industry. It is used by many a chocolatier in France and other European countries.

Jaggery and treacle – Caramelized coconut/kitul products in solid and syrup form are also a popular sweetner for desserts and a healthy option to sugar.

export a variety of crackers, sweet biscuits, cream biscuits and savoury biscuits to India, UAE, Ghana, UK and Maldives and several other countries around the world.

the health inspired trends of “sugar-free” or “light-sugar” products, Sri Lanka also exports chocolates to cater to these niche markets.


bottled mineral water that caters to the hospitality industry locally and also to tourist destinations in the Asian region. Cool crystal spring waters originating from the central hills which are said to be full of natural minerals is purified and packed according to international standards, to offer a refreshing and clean product to the consumer.

export both alcoholic beverages and non- alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages such as arrack, a smooth and popular drink and beer are also offered from distilleries and breweries manufacturing from centuries ago now adding modern equipment and processes to improve quality and volumes.

An all-natural hydrating drink, full of and nutrients, other potassium electrolytes it is an ideal sports drink. Sri Lanka is now producing this drink in bottled and boxed form, as a ready to drink beverage. Vinegar used worldwide in food preparations and as a food preservative,is traditionally made from Coconut water found in abundance in Sri Lanka.

The latter is made from sugar cane syrup and Sri Lanka is second in South East Asia using this technology in the manufacture of the distilled product.

Many of the bottled drinking water manufacturers in Sri Lanka are SLS Certified, illustrating strict adherence to stringent hygienic requirements to enable a healthy product offering to customers. Currently, these exporters are working towards acquiring International Certificates such as ISO and HACCP.

Animal feed

Sri Lanka process residues and waste from agro industry such as brans, sharps from rice, maize and other leguminous crops to make up animal feed for exports and for the local market. Poultry feed is also offered processed under standard conditions.

Quality Assurance

Companies engaged in the processed food industry comply with international standards such as ISO 9000, ISO 22000, HACCP, Halal, Kosher, Organic etc. to maintain food safety for consumers and also to meet individual requirements of globle buyers.


Most of the large scale food exporting companies have their own farms and farmer clusters with GAP, Organic farming etc. to ensure quality of raw materials at the producers’ level. Sri Lanka has a unique offering of a wide range of processed foods, made according international standards and food safety practices.


Food for Health, Food & Beverage producers collectively take steps to ensure consumer health by supplying quality products to the market. Companies within the industry comply with international standards such as ISO 9000, ISO 22000, HACCP, Halal, Kosher, Organic EU – so that discerning consumers and buyers alike can rest assured, knowing that their supply of products from Sri Lanka emanates quality.

Sri Lankan food processors work closely with the International Food Processors Associations and frequently participate at international trade fairs to keep abreast of new product technology, standards and regulations.

Current Markets

food and beverage products are channeled to diverse markets in the world, especially the EU, USA, Australia and Middle East where quantities are increasing annually.

According to recorded statistics Preserved gherkins, Herbal powder, Herbal tea, Sausages, Sauces, Milk and cream, Soya based products mainly exported to the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, the Maldives, Japan, Australia etc.

Coconut milk, cream and powder, various types of fruit juices (e.g. Pineapple, passion fruit, mixed fruit etc.), jams, jellies, cordials, frozen and canned vegetables are mainly exported to the United States as the most significant market, followed by Germany, Netherlands, France, Maldives, Australia, India.


Year Value (US Dollars Million)
2012 231.2
2013 170.01
2014 205.07
2015 177.47
2016 298.03


Major Market

Countries Value (US Dollars Million)
UAE 53.47
Hong kong 28.03
USA 20.63
India 19.73
Maldives 16.24
UK 15.29
Ireland 14.96
Saudi Arabia 11.16
Germany 11.16
France 10.47

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