2111, 2020

Why is Cocoguru coconut oil yellow in colour?

November 21, 2020

Rowtry Cold Press Coconut Oil

Rotary Cold Press

Expeller Cold Press Coconut Oil

Expeller Cold Press

Roasted Coconut Oil

Roasted

Why is your coconut oil yellow in colour? It is not clear white, so not pure

People say this out of their experience and perception about coconut oil. They are not to be blamed because they have seen that oil from good quality copra is white and that from lower quality copra is yellow. Our coconut oil is yellow not because of poorer quality copra but because of a different process. With improvements in oil extraction technology and consumer demand for packaged coconut oil, the coconut oil colour also may undergo a change. Though clear transparent white colour looks better, for want of better quality of coconut oil, the colour may have to suffer.

Manufacturing process of clear white colour coconut oil

Copra with 7-8% moisture is crushed in a rotary machine where lower heat is generated through friction, the oil is then kept in a barrel to allow settling of sediments to take out clear white coconut oil. This is the traditional method of coconut oil extraction and at small scale still followed in villages.

The problems here are

  • Copra is high on moisture and resulting oil will get rancid fast
  • Filtering through sedimentation takes a minimum of 7 days

A superior method where above problems are solved is to dry copra to 3% moisture, extract oil from copra through expeller and filter oil online through filter press immediately.

But the resulting oil turns slightly yellow because of

1. Copra drying by application of hot air at 80 degrees

2. Higher friction and heat during oil extraction in expeller

It has better aroma and longer shelf life.

We go a step further that is the roast the copra pieces after drying but before oil extraction. This further enhances the aroma and shelf life but oil becomes more yellow in colour. There is not loss of any nutrients as it is popularly believed, it is still great for cooking. The great aroma is not because of any perfumes added but what comes out of copra through roasting. Increased shelf life is not because of any preservatives or chemicals but because of complete moisture removal from copra.

Effect of roasting can be understood by comparing the taste of ground nuts or cashew nuts before and after roasting. We eat rice, wheat and vegetables after cooking/heating not without.

There may be many traditionalists who say the contrary is true. White colour oil is better than yellow colour oil. We, respect their view and understand why they hold to their view. That is why we have cold press coconut oil also. As a brand, we believe roasted coconut oil is better.

1911, 2020

Retailer Objection – No response

November 19, 2020

Retailer Objection

We looked into the common objections by retailers to salesman. The toughest objection to crack is when retailer doesn’t respond. He just shakes his head and moves on. Or before you say anything, he says that he has stock and is not interested to buy. Here, we will look into how to handle this.

Objective in this situation is to not sell but to strike a conversation, build a connection, showcase the product and then see if anything can be worked out later.

“Sir, I understand that you are not interested in buying our products at this point. That is fine but I just want to showcase our products. We are doing a lot of marketing activities, our products are getting popular among consumers and there are good chances that you may get a few enquiries. The information I share with you may help you to understand your customer needs better and when you want to buy, we will be more than happy to supply to you.”

Introduce about you the salesman, name, native, past experience, when he joined the present company. Seek the shop keepers support in giving advices, references, consumer preferences etc. Share/exchange business cards.

At this point when the retailer is not under pressure to buy, and when the salesman is knowledgeable, simple and capable of understanding retailer’s concerns, he will open up. Then, products can be introduced, prices can be shared, supply mechanism, frequency can be discussed.

No matter, how disinterested the retailer will be. There is always a chance that he will face issue with present supplier in terms of quality, pricing, supply and terms. If we are able to build a relationship with him, we will be the first alternative that will come to his mind. Knowing that he has a solid alternative in us, he will start pressurising the present supplier for better deals.

A way to strike a conversation would be to keenly observe the shop. All retailers like to publicly display their say political affiliations, favourite God/Godess, owner’s car, their values, likings. One can talk about it. Each shop has its own strengths like cleanliness of the store, reputation in the locality, heritage, variety of items available, competitive pricing, size of business. Salesman can observe and appreciate the retailer and talk more about it. Also, they can discuss among their common contacts.

Eventually, probe more about the nature of business, how the retailer has grown the business, family connections, native place, his interests etc. Then, get into the demand for coconut oil in his shop. What do consumers ask for quality, price, brand etc What does he like about his present supplier, would he use it at his home?

All along the way, the salesman must be attentive, never look at his cell phone, read between the lines, be patient when the retailer is doing something else, keep eye contact, nod, stay in the topic. Never lie whenever he talks about himself, company, products, competitors, market. Keep all the information handy for ready presentation. Another point that is mentioned separately is “don’t attempt to sell”.

Before leaving, inform the retailer that the distributor or sales van would visit him for enquiring. Also, salesman would visit him say next week same day. Ask him if he needs any more information that he has to work on before coming next time.

1711, 2020

Retailers objection to sales

November 17, 2020

Recently, we decided to be active on social media and updated Facebook cover photo. A subscriber from Mangaluru commented saying your product is not available anywhere here. Fact is it is available at many outlets at Mangaluru. But he has a valid point, that it is not available at many shops where he has tried out. I replied saying that we are working hard to place the products at as many shops as possible. How is it such a hard work to place the products? Because of objections by retailers. Retailers have limited shelf space, inventory budget and no intention to promote any product. So, they will only sell those brands that are fast moving. Here are the common ways in which they object to our salesman when he tries to sell.

  • No response – This is common when you are not interested in what the salesman is offering
  • No consumer demand – retailers will take the pain to stock a brand only that has consumer demand
  • Price is high – He needs to earn a decent margin and yet compete with other retailers
  • Low margin or MRP – He wants MRP to be printed higher so that he can offer a significant discount to consumer and yet earn decent margin
  • Credit – Retailers are habituated to purchasing on credit from local distributors and will object to anyone with cash and carry terms
  • Oil is yellow/not pure – His imagination of pure coconut oil is one that is extracted from Ghani/Chekku and is clear white, anything different is considered not pure
  • New brand – He is not interested in selling new brands because he is not sure about consistent supply and he has to work hard to promote It to consumers
  • Dictating terms – He is already getting the product from another source. Here he would like to exploit a new supplier by dictating terms like discount and credit

These are some of the common objections which may be presented in different ways. It is up to the salesman to answer these objections skilfully to earn a sale. In the coming posts, we will answer these objections.

2404, 2017

Water conservation measures taken at Cocoguru

April 24, 2017


April 22nd is celebrated every year as Earth Day, to me personally it is special as it is also my birthday. I resolved last year to contribute my bit in preserving the planet for next generation. I focused on 2 aspects, one water conservation and two planting trees to increase green cover. In this post I will discuss the measures taken over last one year to conserve water.

Water Usage
At Cocoguru factory at Kallarpe, Puttur, we use about 1.5 lakh litres of water per month. We were lucky to get good water through borewell and have been using it as the only source of water for all our requirements. Water is used for steam generation (35%), Hot Oil cooling (25%), watering plants (10%) and remaining 30% towards canteen, washing, toilets for 30 employees. We made an effort to carefully collect the usage data to find ways of managing water.

Water Conservation Tactics
We thought of conserving water in 3 directions.
1. Minimise water usage. Awareness was created among people to minimise wastage.
2. Use waste water effectively. Use used water where fresh water would have been used instead.
3. Source water from a easily recyclable source than bore-well. Rainwater, stream water and open-well are the sources worked on for supplying water. Use bore well only if water from all other sources are not available.

Waste Water
Water from steam condensation and drinking water use are the source of waste water. Many tree saplings and vegetable yielding plants were planted in available land. Waste water is distributed to irrigate those plants. It not only saves water but also avoids draining of waste water to stream causing water pollution.

Water Sources
Rain Water – It rains continuously for 4 months from June to September. Then, rain water is collected from building roof and is directed to use.
Stream Water – Water runs off the earth surface in a stream adjacent to our plot till the end of December. Building a check-dam across it in November extends the availability of stream water by another month. So, stream water is available for 4 months from October to January. Water does flow in full force during rainy season but it is not needed.
Open Well – A well is dug for about 15 feet depth near the stream, it collects shallow groundwater and are easily rechargeable. Water is available even in summer for 2 months i.e. February and March. The check-dam retained water recharges the open-well and all other aquifers nearby making the ground water-rich.
Bore Well – That leaves bore-well water required for only 2 peak summer months of April and May. To keep the bore-well in useful running condition, it is also used round the year in small quantities for canteen drinking water.

Expenses – 80,000 for open well, 40,000 for rainwater collection and usage system, 30,000 for check-dam, 15,000 for waste water irrigation system. Total of 1.65 lakhs. With these steps, the bore-well water usage is reduced to 1/6th of last year.

2310, 2016

Yet another price increase

October 23, 2016

Price premium of coconut oil packs have been increased to about 10% as compared to other mass brands in the market and at par with a premium brand.

We have a sales officer Mr. Nandakishora who has strong opinions about pricing and in favour of traders.
While discussing he said, “We have reached the final stage of our pricing evolution, haven’t we?”.
I countered saying, “No, there is still a long way to go!”.
He was worried, “With great difficulty we have increased the price premium to this stage and you still want to increase it further?”
I swayed his concerns, “From now it is not going to be about increasing price but about fine tuning it as per our marketing strategy. Because after so long we have a control over our pricing”

How did we reach here?
November 2014 – 1 Rupee Premium – Association was formed and prices were fixed by them. We used to supply to shops directly with our own vehicles.
January 2015 – 2 Rupees PremiumThen we changed from van sales to distribution system. Distributor was given at association wholesale rate which was 3 rupees discount to retailer rate. With 2 rupees premium, we gave distributor 5 rupees margin.
July 2015 – 3 Rupees Premium – This was because the association decided to reduce the wholesale discount by 1 rupee to just 2 rupees. We retained distributor margin by increasing retailer price.
November 2015 – 5 Rupees Premium, Association was tending to keep the price low to discourage price rules violation.

It was not very smooth for every price increase we lost a couple of distributors, a few wholesalers and many retailers. Even those who continued buying from us raised serious questions. I used to get very nervous before taking decisions. But bold decisions had to be taken, that is what has made me an entrepreneur in the first place. By now everyone got adjusted and were expecting further price moves by us. We were left with only loyal customers, retailers kept our brand only to give to those who asked for Cocoguru. Still this customer base was substantial to help us survive. We gained in confidence as these are the customers who we have rightfully earned.

April 2016 – 6 Rupees Premium –. To supply to distributors we introduced as super stockist and his margin of 1 Rupee was added to price.

By now association stopped fixing the price as the members had already stopped strictly following the prices. Fearing price fall due to competition we still had to increase our price premium to survive. Price fluctuations weekly were another big problem to tackle as it caused disturbance to members in our trade channel. This meant we cannot reduce prices immediately, we have to give 1 week notice to distributors before reducing price. A couple of times, we didn’t reduce price even after 1 week and hence the premium increased from 6 to 7 to 8 to 9, back to 7 or 8 and then to 10. While our competitors change prices weekly we don’t change our price unless there is a major change in raw material cost.

This has enabled the distributors to purchase confidently without worrying about price fall after their purchase. We have successfully differentiated ourselves from competition and I can peacefully enjoy my Sunday without worrying about their price. Now, we have gained great control over our price, we will fine tune it further.