Ceylon cinnamon or true cinnamon represents the best of cinnamon that the earth can offer. It’s ultra-low coumarin, fragile stick, and sweeter taste are some of the traits of this iconic spice.
Other cinnamon types include Cassia, Saigon, Korintje, Chinese, and Malabar, but these are very different from Ceylon Cinnamon which requires more extensive, skilled labor to produce. To make a Ceylon cinnamon stick, farmers need to place quillings on top of each quilling to form a tightly rolled stick. This process takes time and much patience. Ceylon cinnamon is sold at a higher price than regular cinnamon due to its ultra-low coumarin, limited supply, and the higher labor costs required to produce.
To take advantage of higher Ceylon cinnamon prices, and the inability of the average consumer to identify true Ceylon cinnamon, we have noticed an uprising of fake Ceylon cinnamon brands in the USA and Latin American markets. Our research found that the top seller of Ceylon cinnamon on the US Amazon market actually sells Cassia cinnamon as Ceylon cinnamon. This mislabeling can easily confuse the consumer as to which cinnamon is the genuine Ceylon cinnamon. This deceptive practice will drag down the brand value associated with Ceylon cinnamon.
With fairly little information, it is easy for a person to identify Ceylon cinnamon sticks from cassia sticks. However, it is somewhat tricky for a person outside of the industry to identify Ceylon cinnamon powder from cassia powder (visual inspection).
We have asked the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and Sri Lanka Ministry of Primary Industries what measures they are taking to resolve this problem. While they have acknowledged our concerns, they don’t have any solid plan to curb this issue. One of the main concerns is that Sri Lanka lacks Geographical Indications (GI) in the US, EU and S American markets. The Export Development Board is the authorized holder of Ceylon Cinnamon IP in Sri Lanka. However, the body has failed to expand the protection to other countries. Therefore, neither the Sri Lankan government nor the EDB has any power to take any form of legal stand against those selling cassia as Ceylon cinnamon.
To curb this issue as best we can, at Ant Commodity we started the Track & Trace initiative. Buyers who purchase from Sri Lankan Ceylon cinnamon farmers via Ant Commodity will able to track and trace all information related to the supply side of the cinnamon trade. For sale lots above 5000 Kgs, we will share the coumarin tests carried out by ITI (Industrial Technology Institute), a third-party government body and Country of Origin certificate issued by the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce. This all being done with the humble intention to bring back credibility and transparency to the promising Sri Lanka’s Ceylon cinnamon industry.
At Ant Commodity, we continue to hope the government of Sri Lanka will also join in our effort to secure the future of Ceylon cinnamon trade. If you have ideas on what more we can do to secure the future of Ceylon cinnamon trade, please write to us.