One in five Sri Lankan adults are recorded to be either diabetic or pre-diabetic. In a country with a little over 20 million people, this represents a significant percentage of their population. Despite this growing health concern, Sri Lankans love rice, chocolate milk, fizzy drinks and even has one of the highest per capita consumption of biscuits in Asia with approximately 2-3 kilograms per person eaten each year according to Mintel’s research. Sweet biscuit launches are overpowering savoury ones, which also reinforces the Sri Lankans sweet tooth mentality.

sugarfreebiscuitsIn spite of these health concerns the level of product innovation within the health space has been minimal. Maliban Biscuit Manufactories recently launched a sugar free biscuit, which is a specialized category of biscuits for those who need a sugar free diet. The company communicates that the biscuit could be consumed by diabetic patients, overweight people or just plain health-conscious consumers. The product is sweetened with sweeteners such as maltitol and sucralose which provides the sweet taste. On pack communication of “not a reduced calorie food” tries to reassure consumers that flavour has not been compromised in this healthy biscuit.

The Sri Lankan biscuit industry is largely a duopolistic market with 2 leading players holding 90% of the market share. Ceylon Biscuits own 62% of market share, whereas Maliban Biscuits hold 28% of market share.

With an increased awareness of health risks, Sri Lankan consumers are open to trying out health biscuits. One of the ways to drive this will be through proactive communication from companies targeting specific consumers. Biscuit companies could see success by focusing on health claims and emphasizing the resulting well-being benefits to the consumer.