We are King Coconut Water Fanatics!
We spent ten years journeying around the world in search of the perfect coconut water to bring to market. Good fortune and our work in international economic development allowed us both to travel — from Latin America, to tropical Africa, to the far reaches of Asia – and sample dozens of varieties of fresh coconut water, directly from the nut.
But we came back, again and again, to savor the delicate taste of the golden King Coconut, a native variety unique to Nihal’s homeland, Sri Lanka. The King Coconut’s subtly sweet, nutty and refreshing taste, invigorating nutrients, and naturally hydrating properties make it a local favorite, especially in the tropical heat.
Our quest ended in 2015, when we founded Sri Lanka Gold, determined to share our discovery of Sri Lanka’s premium coconut water as Mother Nature intended—free of additives, never heat-treated, and made from the finest coconuts in the world.
We also committed ourselves to giving back to the communities that have cultivated the King Coconut for generations, including investing a percentage of our profits and our hands-on economic development experience to improve our farmers’ livelihoods. And we are working now with our network of family farmers to qualify for USDA organic certification.
Come join us on our journey and discover delicious, revitalizing Sri Lanka Gold.
— Sheri and Nihal Pitigala, co-founders
Sri Lanka Gold’s mission is to bring consumers a new coconut water experience, sourced uniquely from Sri Lanka, and never heated. That ensures we use minimal processing to preserve flavor and nutrients, and retain the refreshing, sweet taste of the golden King Coconut.
Sri Lanka Gold’s core values act as our company’s compass, guiding both our product development and company operations:
- Eat Naturally—Enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty more fully as intended, with minimal processing and without artificial additives or flavors.
- Discover—Food offers more than nourishment; it takes you on a journey of discovery for your palate, your mind and your spirit.
- Make a Difference—Give back to the communities and families that contribute to our success and give forward to conserve our planet for the next generation.
- Embrace our Differences—Innovation thrives on diversity and inclusiveness, harnessing our collective energy to collaborate, bringing new perspectives, and thinking outside the box.
- And, most of all, Do It All with Passion!
OUR COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
With our founders’ backgrounds in economic development and poverty reduction, sustainability is in our DNA. We bring both the conviction and know-how to contribute to transform the economic and social outcomes for our farmer families and their communities. Our cooperative welfare fund directly supports the needs of our farmer families. We will further share our success with our partner farmers to promote their long-term economic empowerment through:
Sustainable Income Opportunities
For the first time, many of these growers have a sustainable market opportunity for their produce
Fair Trade Premium
We offer our growers a Fair Trade price premium for their produce
We will assist our farmers, who already rely on organic and non-GMO practices, to obtain USDA Organic certification
We will assist farmers to improve their production practices and expand their planting to increase yields
Access to Inputs and Finance
We will assist farmers in the organization of a King Coconut farmers’ organization to facilitate access to inputs, technology and financing
At Sri Lanka Gold, our sustainability commitment extends to the environment through the many green measures we’ve applied along our supply chain:
- Organic Farming—The majority of our farmers already grow without the use of any chemicals, relying on what Mother Nature provides. We support our network of growers in obtaining USDA organic certification.
- Use of Byproducts—We utilize the byproducts from our Sri Lankan processing facility—the husk and shell of our coconuts—locally for biofuel, composting, and other domestic uses.
- All Natural Product—Our King Coconut Water is 100% natural, made without any additives.
- Recyclable Materials—We use recyclable PET bottles and minimal packaging.
Lionel has been farming King Coconuts for 30 years in Boralugoda, a village on the west side of the island—a verdant region that provides a nurturing habitat for the king coconut, as well as pineapples, rambutan, and tea. Lionel’s dream is to ensure that his two children, Malathi and Saman, have the opportunity to pursue their education and move up the socioeconomic strata.
“I am so grateful for Sri Lanka Gold for giving Malathi and Saman much needed help. This is a great source of encouragement for my work and I feel Sri Lanka Gold as part of my family.”—Lionel
Serendipity—Discover the Magic of Sri Lanka
A teardrop-shaped island cast adrift in the Indian Ocean at the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka, natural home of the King Coconut, entices visitors from around the world to its beautiful shores. Known in ancient times as Serendib, Sri Lanka is the land of serendipity with endless opportunities for both expected and unexpected discoveries. A true tropical paradise, warm Sri Lankans welcome visitors to explore its rich cultural heritage, ancient sacred cities and temples, pristine beaches, spice gardens, verdant mountains and a chance to see elephants and other wildlife roaming free. Sri Lanka’s fertile soils and microclimates nurture a bounty of the world’s finest culinary delights, from its renowned Ceylon tea to its exquisite cinnamon and other exotic spices. Sri Lanka’s King Coconuts, revered by Sri Lankans for generations, are the next unexpected discovery—a delicious opportunity to savor the joy of serendipity.
NIHAL & SHERI PITIGALA
Co-founders and Managing Partners Nihal and Sheri Pitigala, bring their lifetime partnership, combined passion for coconut water, and experience in promoting sustainable economic development to Sri Lanka Gold.
Sheri and Nihal met in 1997 and were married in Nihal’s homeland, Sri Lanka. Since Nihal first introduced Sheri to King Coconut water on their honeymoon, they have both worked the world as international economic development professionals, supporting developing countries to reduce poverty. They spent close to 20 years working with companies, farmers, NGOs, and government institutions across the developing world to connect to local, regional and global markets through sustainable private sector development practices. They have both travelled extensively throughout South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, experiencing local cultures, foods, natural wonders, and man-made treasures along the way.
The couple watched the exponential growth of the coconut water market over the past decade and sampled every coconut water product they could find. But nothing matched the refined taste of the King Coconut. In 2015, they decided to launch Sri Lanka Gold as an opportunity to introduce consumers to the finest coconut water in the world and simultaneously better the livelihoods of Sri Lanka’s family farmers.
As Managing Partner of Operations, Nihal supervises the company’s supply chain, integrating sustainable and Fair Trade business practices into the fabric of the company. With his close ties to the Sri Lankan community, he leads the development of the company’s network of small family farmers—the backbone of the supply chain. Sheri is the company’s Managing Partner of Marketing and Sales, sharing their passion for King Coconut water with the world.