Merrill J Fernando, the founder of Dilmah Tea, has died at 93

By: Trademagazin editor Date: 2023. 07. 20. 09:43

The founder of Dilmah Tea, Merrill J Fernando, has died at the age of 93 surrounded by his family when he died in Colombo.

Fernando, the man well known for his “do try it” slogan, founded tea company Dilmah in Sri Lanka in 1988 that is now one of the world’s largest tea brands.

”The visionary founder of Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company’s greatness was in his invincible faith, his integrity and love for tea & family,” the website said.

It said his achievement in disrupting an exploitative colonial industry changed the lives of producers around the world, introducing a shift in ethical and sustainable business before it acquired the prominence it has now.

In 2019, Merrill Fernando – then aged 89 – was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by Massey University in Palmerston North in recognition of his leadership in ethical business in the food and beverage industry. He was the fourth international recipient of a Massey honorary doctorate.

Fernando started working with the university’s Riddet Institute, a food and nutrition research centre, in the 1990s. He researched the antioxidant and health properties of Dilmah tea.


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