Transforming Cashews into Culinary Luxury
Cashews, renowned for their exquisite flavor and versatility, have found a unique champion in the entrepreneurial journey of Dr. Ruwan Wathugala. From envisioning possibilities as a student at the Medical College to assuming the role of Founder and Chairman of Royal Cashews, Dr. Wathugala’s entrepreneurial voyage over two decades has catapulted his venture into the forefront of Sri Lanka’s cashew processing and exporting industry.
A Visionary Approach to Cashew Excellence
Cashews, often seen as a delightful accompaniment to any meal, took center stage in Dr. Wathugala’s journey when he identified a gap in the local and international markets. Today, Royal Cashews is a testament to the success that follows a relentless pursuit of entrepreneurial vision and dedication to excellence.
Dr. Wathugala proudly shares, “What is unique about Royal Cashews is the fact that it is a venture that has secured the ISO 14001:2015 EMS standard certification on international green-oriented processing, ISO 22000:2018 FSMS, HACCP & GMP standard certifications on standardized food processing, and Certificate of Conformity on principles of Ethical Trading Practices.”
From Farm to Flavor: The Royal Processing
The entire journey of a cashew, from raw nut to flavorful delight, unfolds within the walls of Royal Cashews’ factory. Dr. Wathugala emphasizes their commitment to value addition, introducing a remarkable 19 flavors packaged in 682 varieties to cater to both local and international markets. Beyond the 20 sales outlets, their products grace the shelves of leading supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and confectionery markets.
International buyers in Australia, New Zealand, Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan recognize the excellence of Royal Cashews, resulting in numerous awards for their exporting capabilities.
Entrepreneurial Triumph: Awards and Accolades
Recently, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) honored Royal Cashews with four awards at its 24th Annual Award Ceremony, celebrating the venture’s entrepreneurial standards. These accolades include the Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 – National Gold Award (Extra Large Category), Provincial Gold Award (Extra Large Category – Western Province), Most Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 – National Winner – Western Province, and Most Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 – Winner – Western Province (Large Category).
Dr. Wathugala reflects on the impact of these awards, stating, “Today this venture directly supports over 200 employees while indirectly supporting around 250 families. I’m extremely humbled to have received these awards, and they are further proof of the example we have set. It also gives a strong message for future entrepreneurs as well.”
Navigating the Pandemic: Resilience and Responsibility
Addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic, Dr. Wathugala highlights the company’s decision to continue operations with stringent safety measures. Notably, zero COVID cases were reported from the Royal Cashews factory, a testament to the commitment to employee well-being.
Future Aspirations: Beyond Boundaries
Looking ahead, Dr. Wathugala envisions expanding Royal Cashews’ product line by introducing variants inspired by cashew nuts. Plans include the development of cashew-based ice cream and various food items utilizing cashew nut powder. The commitment extends to supporting cashew farmers through education on novel farming techniques.
“Increasing the brand value is of utmost importance, and we want to highlight it by supplying quality products,” Dr. Wathugala concludes, expressing a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation.
The Royal Cashews journey is not just a success story; it’s an ongoing narrative of entrepreneurial brilliance, sustainability, and a flavorful commitment to excellence.