A business serving the cause of vegetarianism
VEGETARIANISM: Believing in the mission of catering to
vegetarians and adopting the concept that originated from the Buddha's
philosophy, she has been top in her own career today dedicating her
business to vegetarianism.
She is Sunanda Weerasinghe, Managing Director of Sujan International
(Pvt) Ltd providing high protein food products as an alternative for
meat. Her competence and commitment were pillars of her success and many
organisations have appreciated her contribution to the society.
The Agri-Business Council has granted the gold award recently in
appreciation of her performances. The Women's Chamber of and Commerce
Industries has also awarded the merit certificate at the Women
Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 under the medium investment category.
Sunanda started her career as a teacher in 1973 and has worked in
many rural areas for seven years. "I realised most children have
alleviated poverty and they were unable to fulfil their basic
requirements as well," she said.
She has shared her salary with them by purchasing books and clothes
In 1976 she married Tissa Weerasinghe, a civil engineer by
She gave up her job after her daughter was born. She wanted to start
her own business and she has done many trials on various manufacturing.
Sunanda had the opportunity go to the UK to follow technology in food
She started to manufacture jelly desserts in a small way in her home
"From early childhood my religious upbringing encouraged by my father
who is a well-known businessman in Galle while love for nature and
plants made me look towards in creating vegetarian food and resulted in
a growing dislike to depend on animals for food.
My father gave autobiographies of Mahatma Gandhi and it was strongly
established in my life, both to create non-violence in human mind and
work towards self-dependence which the way India follow for economic
prosperity as a country.
Her aim is to develop food products to bring this message to
consumers through this concept whilst educating them on health aspects
of being a vegetarian to maintain a spiritual mind and a healthy body.
She supplied her jelly desserts to the Ceylon Tobacco Trading Company
and Sathosa initially.
She has also received extensive training at various seminars in
Thailand, Japan, Korea, India and the ITI.
Developing her business, she moved to an Industrial Estate in
Homagama in 1997. She has registered her company as a small scale BoI
agri-business company to produce 100 percent vegetarian and nutritious
food products using local grains and pulses to cater to the
health-conscious and growing trend towards vegetarianism in both local
and export markets.
She said her dream is to provide food requirements which are needed
by vegetarians and health-conscious in taste, nutrition and texture,
compensating what they feel, in an animal based diet.
She said that the philosophy of the company is to contribute to the
economic growth of the country and general well-being of people through
the development of vegetarianism and convenient food products giving the
desired nutrition for healthy living without the need of food of animal
These instant products have been categorised as desserts and
confectionery, rice cereal based meals, frozen meatless meat and health
The right combinations of pulses and grains provide maximum nutrition
and products contain high protein, free of fat and cholesterol free
whilst including all the nutrition that animal protein provides. Raw
materials based on sea weeds and soya beans and cereals, which are
health food of China and Japan, and they take them in almost every meal
for more than thousand years.
She said that most recent medical findings have found the ability of
Soya bean based food consumption lowering LDL cholesterol by 50 percent
reducing the risk of plaque formation in the arteries leading to heart
problems which makes soya a unique food of the East proving the lower
rate of heart disease and cancer.
She has also participated in three major trade fairs in USA and
Germany which have helped her to realise many potentials in the export
market. She supplies her products to the market under the brand names of
Classic and Supersun.
After the three-year research, she has been able to obtain patent
rights for soya based meat re-production in 2002. Soya which is called
the modern day wonder bean of cholesterol free high protein has almost
all the nutrition that an animal diet provides and is the base of her
meatless meat range of meat alternatives. She has developed a range of
soy sausages, vege ham, vege burghers, vege meatballs.
The best quality local grains and pulses are used to produce hopper
mix, thosai mix, dhal thosai mix, idli mix, chappathy mix, kurrakan
breakfast mix. The company also manufactures instant vegetarian moss
jelly in various flavours and flavoured China moss puddings. She also
manufactures soy protein milk, soy milk shakes.
The most recent addition is a healthy soy protein bar. The Women's
Chamber of Industries and Commerce has nominated her for an award in New
Delhi to appreciate her contribution made to enhance the rural economy
She has also won the award at the Foods Awards Excellence 2002. She
has been recognised by USAID as a successful small time entrepreneur and
has included her company in their report of 50 years in Sri Lanka.
She said that the contribution made by USAID to develop her own
business is immense and was grateful for their support.
She currently holds the position of Third Vice President of Sri Lanka
Food Processing Association (SLFPA). She has worked as a chairperson of
the committee of Cleaner Out Door Dining program, which was the joint
workshop of the Public Health Department of Colombo Municipal Council
and the SLFPA for the restaurant people on food hygiene.
A pupil of Sangamitta College in Galle, her husband, daughter and
son-in-law are supportive in giving her encouragement.
She believes that an entrepreneur's spiritual aims should combine
with their material goals when delivering whatever product weather it
just a bundle of leafy vegetables or the most sophisticated item.