Milestones of our 124-year journey

1922
Participated in the All Ceylon Industries Exhibition
1924
The British Empire Exhibition Award of Appreciation was given to our founder – Late Mr. C.D.de. Fonseka
1991
Received grant of Patent for manufacture of natural vinegar from Coconut Water
1994
Obtained membership of the Vinegar Institute –USA
2003
Awarded the Sri Lanka Standards Institution Certificate –SLS 168
Awarded ISO Certification – ISO 9001-2000
Diversified to CDDEF Manufacturer’s & Merchants pvt ltd ( CM&M) to co-pack Dettol antiseptic liquid for RB and Colman’s Instant drink for Sri Lanka.
2007
Awarded 2nd runner up –Local Raw Material Category at SLFPA (Sri Lanka Food Processors Association)
2015
Awarded ISO Certification 22000-5000
2015
Started Producing at Bandaragama Factory
2017
Opened our newest factory to manufacture soy sauce and other export food products in Bandaragama, making this our second fermenting plant.
2019
officially owns the brand rights of Colman’s in Sri Lanka and formed the company Colmans Lanaka pvt ltd
Present
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We are dedicated and committed to provide the best quality products to ensure and exceed customer satisfaction and expectations. Today the company holds certification from Sri Lanka Standards Institution, ISO 9001:2008, ISO 22000:2005, SEDEX, CDA, US NOP Organic, E.U. Organic

Timeline of Founders

Late Mr. Charles David de Fonseka

( Late 1800’s to early 1900’s )

During the latter part of the 18th Century, late Mr. Charles David de Fonseka, a great Philanthropist, married late The Late Mr. Fonseka, by birthright owned a liquor business and during the colonial era, he was popularly known as ‘Reinda’ (business owner). In the year 1896 Charles David de Fonseka gave away the manufacturing of Arrack and started manufacturing natural vinegar out of Coconut toddy. This decision was influenced by his spouse Helen Agnes Perera Dissanayake ardent Buddhist born to Abayakarunaratne Dissanayake mudalithuma and his spouse. A family of devoted Buddhists built one of the landmark temples known as ‘Abayakarunarathne Mudalindaramaya’ well known as the Welipitiya temple in Welipitiya, Panadura.

Since Coconut Vinegar was being used as an anti-bacterial liquid for the healing of wounds and an instant stamina drink for soldiers during World War I, the facility not only became a vital resource, but also a key ingredient in many food items. With a versatile market, vinegar also became a famous medicinal requirement.

To applaud his business career, the British presented the following (include certificate) Mr. de Fonseka a Silver Medal at the All Ceylon Industries Exhibition in 1922, and the following Diploma Certificate of Appreciation the British Empire Exhibition, in 1924. In 1929, this great gentleman passed away, leaving the legacy of his business to his wife, the late Mrs. Helen de Fonseka, and thereafter to his children and their descendants. During this time young Eric Bertram de Fonseka, after completing his studies, was being trained to take over the business and supported his mother after the passing of Late Mr. Charles David de Fonseka. The late Mrs Helen Agenes Perera Dissanayake continued the business till 1956 when she passed away leaving the business in the capable hands of her son Eric Bertram De Fonseka. (Artistic drawing/view of the factory in the early 1950s)

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Late Mr. Eric Bertram de Fonseka

Hailing from a family of business acumen, Late Mr. Eric took over the entire business and the land outright under his purview as the sole proprietor of the de Fonseka family. His wife Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka, a salient figure in the de Fonseka family, then took over the reigns after the sudden demise of her spouse Late Eric Bertram de Fonseka in early 1960’s.

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Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka

Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka took over the reigns after the demise of her husband. She was a lady determined to make her mark at a time where men dominated business fields. She gracefully arose as a strong businesswoman, challenged by a world of men, to steer the company towards success.

She then tirelessly worked to safeguard the business, by finding suitable distributors. With the implementation of the closed economy policy in the 1970’s most of the multinational companies were looking for local products for Distribution Island wide.    It was at this stage that she was able to score one of CDDEF’s best contracts, M/s Reckit&Colmans Pvt Ltd in 1973 (known today as Reckitt Benckiser) among many other companies. This was the first remarkable turning point for the company, as it provided exposure to multinational corporate culture and the global business environment. This business contract cemented CDDEF as a legitimate co-packer in the country.

The brand name “Colmans” still holds the largest market share for coconut vinegar, from the day they joined hands with us to the present. Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka’s relentless efforts allowed the company to thrive, paving the way for a golden era for the C.D De Fonseka & Sons. Today, the present generations enjoy the harvest of her brave efforts.

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Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka

Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka, the son of Late Mrs. Constance de Fonseka, took over the family business gradually, eventually having full control of the company in the 1985, While working as the Marketing Manager of Colombo Commercial Company (CM&M). Along with 15 years of experience working in a blue chip company and the never ending support from his wife and late mother, Mr Rohantha De Fonseka went on to develop a flourishing business and established C. D. de Fonseka group of companies. Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka worked tirelessly in multiple business fields, to achieve success in whichever project he puts his mind to. Today, he’s the most successful person to run C. D. de Fonseka & sons and is renowned across the island for his achievements. Mr. Rohantha de Fonseka’s guidance has allowed CDDEF to climb the ladder of success. Some of his notable contributions to the business include:

  • Patented and invented the manufacture of coconut vinegar from coconut water
  • Revolutionized contract manufacturing by supplying to all major reputed brands on the island
  • Systematically upgraded the whole facility to Global standards (ISO 22000:2008, SLS)
  • Introduced Quality systems with a fully functioning Laboratory
  • Introduced the Acetaor process for High Strength Vinegar (First in South Asia)
  • Diversified the company by Contract manufacturing Dettol liquid for Reckitt Benckiser
  • Architect of our subsidiaries: CDDEF Manufacturers and Merchants, CDDEF Exports and CDDEF Estates.
  • Manufacture of high strength vinegar under patent.
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History of CDDEF

Excellence that spans through generations

Each member who has taken over the reigns of this family business has added and improved the organization auxiliary, to build a reputed business within and beyond Sri Lanka. Today the company stands strong in the food processing and manufacturing industry, with state-of-the-art infrastructure, expertise and consumer insights gathered during its illustrious journey of 124 years.

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