Munchee The Sri Lankan Biscuit Giant Redefines Boundaries Of Excellence
Among many other biscuit manufacturers in Sri Lanka, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. (CBL), the winning producer of the Munchee range has been in the forefront for decades in terms of taste, quality and value. The company became the market leader in 2002 and was responsible in increasing the local biscuit market from 30,000 mt to 75,000 mt within the last decade. Today Munchee owns an approximately 60 percent of the local market.
Setting Standards And Inspiring Innovations
According to CBL Group Director and Head of Marketing and Sales Nandana Wickramage, Munchee is highly committed to set standards for the local biscuit industry with best practices and quality products that meets the expectations of both local and international markets. “We are committed to develop this industry and we inspire innovation. At any given time we have over 20 products in research and development stage. This helps us to launch better and improved products regularly.”
Talking more about inspiring innovations, Wickramage stated that although CBL was founded in 1968 to manufacture high-protein biscuits to supplement mid-day meals for school children under a joint programme by Care Organization, USA, and the Sri Lankan Government, its flagship brand Munchee has achieved steady growth over the years, becoming a great success in the marketplace. During this journey the awards and recognition it received are innumerous. “These awards are witness to our success and commitment to Sri Lanka,” he said.
Benchmark Of Quality And Standards
Our products are backed by many local and international quality and standard certifications such as SLS 251 product certification, ISO 9001:2000, Quality Management System Certification, ISO 14,001:2004, Environmental Management System Certification and HACCP Food Safety Management Certification. Munchee was the proud winner of the national Quality award in 2005. Our Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director are qualified and experienced food scientists, and quality comes first – whether it is raw material or the finished goods – stringent quality control is a must. No raw material will enter the production floor or a finished product leaves the store without quality inspection.”
“The testimony of our quality is the continued leadership position of the Sri Lankan market for the past decade and the growing acceptance of our Brand by developed countries who resist food products from any third world country,” added Wickramage.
A Global Player Of Local Origin
From time immemorial Sri Lanka has been well known for its dominance in the global market for standard agricultural exports including tea, rubber and coconut. But things have started to change with Munchee challenging the monopoly of traditional exports. “Although we are not traditionally a biscuit manufacturing country, Munchee has mastered the art of baking good biscuits. Eventually we have conquered the world, supplying even to the country where Biscuits originated.” Munchee is exporting to over 45 countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, and the Middle East. “These exports generate much needed foreign income,” adds Wickramage. “Being a developing country, exporting one of our very own local brands to the developed world is testimony of their acceptance and that we have fulfilled their stringent quality standards. This claim is further authenticated by the large number of awards and accolades won by Munchee and today Munchee enjoys an international outreach with distribution channels in over 45 countries, spread over virtually every continent,” he said.
An Empowered Workforce
The workforce of Munchee which proudly call themselves the ‘Munchee family’ are not only committed towards achieving the vision of the company but are also passionate about the brand they work for. “The theme “A Great Place to Work” is not just a mere statement it means a lot to all who work in the organization as it really is ‘a great place to work’,” continued Wickramage adding that, “we were awarded the Asia’s Best Employer Brand award early this year by CMO Asia, after research was conducted in Asian countries by an independent group. The career development opportunities, training and skills development and the happiness of our workforce would have been the contributory factor for this judgment,” he said. “We have workers who joined the company at its inception 43 years ago. This is our second home – we love working in this organization not only for the benefits we receive but also for what it contributes to our country, economy and the community.”
A Brand that Cares
With all its success in the market place, Munchee has not forgotten to give back to the people and the community it operates in.
Up Lifting The Community
Munchee Samaga Gamata Sarana’ is a concept developed by Munchee to uplift the living standards of the Sri Lankan rural folk. Many areas of public needs are identified by the sales force of Munchee which works at the grassroots. These are evaluated by a committee and then put into action by the Munchee workforce who takes great pleasure in supporting community upliftment. “Since the commencement of this program we have completed over 35 projects that have changed the lives of those areas,” explains Wickramage. “From providing clean drinking water to constructing bridges, roads, IT laboratories, public and school libraries and community health centers we have worked hand in hand with the relevant beneficiaries and fulfilled their needs which were mere dreams before our involvement.”
“These are some of the few corporate social responsibility projects we did. We always believe in returning a considerable part of our profits to develop the society. Developing Sri Lanka and its people is part of our responsibility and our staff volunteer to participate in such projects sacrificing their weekends and holidays,” he added
Preventing School Dropouts
The ‘Munchee Tikiri Shishyadara’ Scheme is the largest education support programme conducted by a private sector company in the country, aimed at supporting deserving children from less privileged families and prevention of school dropouts. Up to now, thousands of children have been able to continue their education with the promise of a bright future in spite of immense financial hardships affecting their families. Some of the school dropouts who were placed back in schools and financially supported by Munchee at the age of around 10 years are now completing their higher education in the Medical colleges and other universities thanks to Munchee. “Imagine if we had not come forward to support these children where would they be now? They would grow up with grievances and eventually become a problem to society,” Wickramage commented.
Supporting Children To Confidently Face Examinations
Continuing its commitment to upgrade the education standards of the future generation, the company facilitates weekly workshops for children sitting for government examinations such as Year 5 scholarships, GCE O’Level and A’Level examinations. “It is the rural child who needs more attention and additional workshops to prepare for the examinations as they lack facilities in the schools and sometimes even proper teachers, but they do not have the finances to get private tuition. The urban child has everything and they compete with the rural child for a place in a better school or even a place in the university. Our workshops which are conducted with the support of expertise from the NIE in rural areas help these needy children to fulfill their dreams. Annually, the beneficiaries are as much as 75,000 for year 5 scholarship workshops, 30,000 for GCE O’Level and 15,000 for GCE A’Level workshops,” he exclaimed.
Protecting The Environment
As a socially responsible corporate entity, preserving the environment has always been a top priority at CBL Munchee. In addition to the stringent measures adopted in the manufacturing process to prevent environmental pollution, the company actively engages in environment protection work and awareness programmes. “We have replaced old systems with new ones that save energy and minimize pollution including reducing the noise generated by heavy machines in operation within the factory premises. We share the benefits of success with the local community that supports our growth and the company is extremely concerned about the wellbeing of not only its staff but also society in general,” he said.
In conclusion Wickramage said that as Sri Lankans we should all be happy that a Sri Lankan Brand has grown to this extent and continues to support the people of the country. “We will work towards achieving our vision of becoming the number one biscuit brand in Asia with a global presence and recognition. We dedicate our crown of success to the people of our motherland.”