CategoriesBranding Coconut Oil

Why does Cocoguru coconut oil have a longer shelf life?

I had been to Kalasa, Chikkamagaluru for developing our business there. While I was talking to a famous coffee maker Varamahalakshmi Coffee Works, he asked me how is that your coconut oil last much longer compared to other coconut oils? It was a great opportunity for me to highlight how different and superior Cocoguru coconut oil is compared to other coconut oils. Since he was curious, he listened carefully. Normally retailers don’t care, we rarely get to explain, if at all we get, they hardly listen. These are the factors which I explained

1. Copra making method
Copra is made from coconuts in 2 methods.

Ball copra
Ball copra
Fresh Copra
Fresh copra

a. Fresh copra
Here fresh coconut is cut into two and immediately sun dried to get copra. This method is followed in coastal Karnataka and Kerala during summer and Tamil Nadu. Because of its freshness it would have undergone minimal deterioration.

b. Ball copra
Coconut with shell and husk is kept in attic for a long time to let coconut water in it slowly dry. After 6 months, moisture would have evaporated and kernel inside would become like a ball and separated from the shell. This type of copra popularly called as Tiptur edible ball copra is used for direct consumption. This method is used in Deccan platue regions of Karnataka. Those that are not in regular shape and size is used for oil milling purpose. Since the copra has become old, it would have undergone some deterioration. Milling copra is selected after selecting edible copra.

To make Cocoguru coconut oil only copra made from sun drying of fresh coconuts are used.

2. Copra Segregation
Copra is segregated to select only good quality ones and bad quality ones are separated. Only good quality copra gives good quality oil despite the best of processes further.

3. Copra drying
Moisture causes rancidity in cooking oil. So, moisture is removed by drying copra using hot air before oil extraction.

4. Copra roasting
Copra roasting further removes moisture and sterilises copra.

5. Oil Extraction
Coconut oil is normally extracted from copra in 2 types of machines, rotary and expeller.

Rotary Machines
Rotary machine
Expeller extraction
Expeller machine

a. Rotary
In rotary machine, copra with 8% moisture is crushed in a rotary machine, oil is then filtered by sedimentation in barrels for 7 days.

b. Expeller
In expeller, copra with 2.5% moisture is crushed in an expeller, oil is then filtered online through filter press.

Cocoguru coconut oil is extracted from dried copra using expeller and filtered through filter press. Popular perception is that oil that is cold pressed/wood pressed/rotary crushed is natural and superior, also it looks white/colourless. It is suitable only for immediate consumption and yet very ineffecient. Oil yield is low, moisture causes rancidity. Roasted coconut oil extracted through expeller is long lasting, safe, aromatic and tasty yet retains natural properties.

6. Fine filtering
Filtering removes solid particles and moisture, when done finely and thoroughly, it improves oil appearance and shelf life. At Cocoguru, coconut oil is double filtered.

7. Tight packaging
Packing is a way to hold, protect, carry and exhibit the oil. When done well, it goes a long way in ensuring shelf life and convenience of use. In our case shelf life increases from 6 months in PET bottles to 12 months in Jerry Cans.

8. Inventory management
We carefully manage stocks at manufacturing, distribution and retailer points to ensure the stocks are fresh and in good condition, so that consumers get fresh stock.

Overall, it is about careful taking care of each aspect of manufacturing and business process, not about chemicals and preservatives. For many manufacturers their scope ends when their products reach the wholesalers, for us it is about consumer experience.

CategoriesCoconut Oil Marketing

Saurav Ganguly, heart attack, endorsement of a cooking oil product

Saurav Ganguly, the price of Kolkata, former Indian test cricket captain, was responsible for building Indian cricket from the abyss of 2000 to what it is today. The post is not about cricket, but about the cooking oil he endorsed, his mild heart attack, trolling by individuals on social media.
It is unfortunate that our idol had a heart attack and as we had prayed, he has recovered quickly after Angioplasty. The moment news broke out about his heart attack, people remembered the product/brand he endorsed. The fortune brand refined rice bran oil marketed by Adani Wilmar, advertised by agency Oglivy and Mather that claims the oil to be heart healthy. Why did he get heart attack despite being a sports person at highest level and at a young age of 48?

At one level, it is unfair to target Saurav Ganguly or the brand Fortune for his present health status. Brand only claims that the oil is good for heart and never claims that no matter what you do, you will never get heart attack. Saurav on his part, despite following a healthy lifestyle had to get a heart attack. I promote coconut oil for cooking and hair but I am bald and I am not necessarily the healthiest. So, coconut oil or the brand Cocoguru is not responsible for it. But for that we need to think fairly, which doesn’t happen in the emotional world of advertising.

Should Saurav Ganguly promote the product/brand?
Saurav Ganguly has worked hard as a professional cricketer to achieve success he has and rise to be a nationally adored celebrity. He has borne the cost of being a celebrity also. It is only wise he uses his reach to commercially encash on his popularity. But people are only questioning his responsibility in choosing the products he has endorsed. I believe he must personally use it, must have done some basic research and liked it before endorsing it to others. I know Harsha Bhogle for one does the due diligence before endorsing a brand. A few cricketers like Hashim Amla don’t sport Castle Lager logo on their shirt though it is their national sponsor as it is a liquor brand. With financial commitments it is easy to endorse brands that pay the most. Sportsmen are also under the pressure to make money fast as they have limited time appeal mostly in their playing days when they are playing well.

Should the brand select Saurav Ganguly for the campaign?
The campaign is about being healthy even after crossing 40 years of age and Ganguly is a correct choice for it as he is an icon for all people across the country who are of that generation. But the brand’s advertising agency must have worked with Ganguly to find out if he really is a user of the product, does the product really promote heart health? For any long term relationship to work, deal must work fairly both ways.

Risk of having a personality endorse a brand
Nobody would have anticipated Ganguly suffering from heart attack, so the brand must be excused for not covering this risk. There have been backlashes in the past for celebrities taking political positions like Amir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Swara Bhasker etc and users have boycotted the products they have endorsed. Celebrities are humans after all and have their right to opinion and expression, but it runs the risk of their followers liking it or not. Using celebrities gives brands immediate benefits of reach and liking, but it also carries its risk.

Is there any logic, head or heart in promoting refined oils as healthy?
The low cost of refined oil gives its marketers the wide mass market for consumption and hence the marketing budget to spend enticing the users to switch to it. Refined oils may be devoid of impurities like free fatty acids, bad odour, extra colour, solid particles and moisture. But why did the oil have impurities in the first place? Because they were inferior grade oils that were made acceptable through refining. Crude, raw, filtered, cold pressed oils are extracted from superior grade oil seeds and ready of consumption as it is, without having to undergo refining. But they are expensive because such oil seeds are expensive. Crude oils are healthy but their manufacturers don’t have the marketing muscle to promote it to masses. Masses can’t afford it either. Masses usually succumb to dubious claims by advertisers especially if it comes from a celebrity.

CategoriesCoconut Oil

Why is Cocoguru coconut oil yellow in colour?

Rotary Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Rotary Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Expeller Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Expeller Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
Roasted Coconut Oil
Roasted Coconut Oil

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.

CategoriesCoconut Oil

Coconut oil helps you lose weight. But how?

Normally, consuming oil should make one fat and gain weight, but how is it that using coconut oil helps weight loss? It is true, not a joke. Let us understand how.

Coconut oil is an anomaly among edible oils and nature’s gift to mankind. In science and nature, we know a famous anomaly that is of water. Ice floats in water. Normally, cooling a liquid should bring the molecules closer and make it heavier/denser. But water when cooled beyond 4 C starts expanding and becomes lighter and Ice at below 0 C floats in very water. This anomaly of water has enabled life to sustain under water even in colder regions in winter months. Similarly coconut oil gives you the benefits of oil required by human body and yet doesn’t give the side effects of weight gain.

Oil or Fat?
Lipids can be classified into oils and fats. Coconut Oil though an oil shows several qualities of a fat.

Physical Specifications

Physical ParameterOur Values
Specific Gravity0.915
Refractive Index1.445
ColourTransparent Light Golden Yellow
OdourPleasant roasted coconut

Generalizations don’t hold
Having considered coconut oil as an anomaly, the following generalizations based on transitive logic are not true

  • Saturated fats are bad, Coconut Oil is saturated. Hence coconut oil is bad.
  • Cholesterol clogs arteries and bad for heart. Coconut Oil has cholesterol. Hence coconut oil is bad.
  • Oil intake should be avoided for better health. Hence coconut oil should not be used.

Rather the reverse of it is true for coconut oil.

Digestion is essentially about breaking down complex hydro-carbons like carbohydrates, lipids and proteins into basic carbon dioxide and water using oxygen and release energy. Simpler hydrocarbons are easier to digest than complex ones.

Digestion of glucose

Medium Chain Fatty Acids
Majority of coconut oil is easily digestible medium chain fatty acid. Other oils consists of long chain fatty acids and require special enzymes for digestion, they give more strain to pancreas, liver and entire digestive system and they get stored as body fat.
Coconut oil had 50% lauric acid of carbon chain length 12. To compare with alternative edible oils. Olive oil considered healthy is majority oleic acid of length 18. Sunflower oil, a mass consumed oil is majority linoleic acid of length 18.
Practically compare your feelings after eating oil fried food with coconut oil vs sunflower oil to feel the difference. Stomach feels bloated and heavy with sunflower oil but light with coconut oil.

Reasons for weight loss

  • Improved metabolism. So, with lesser quantity of food the desired energy is generated in body
  • Instant energy. Craving for food reduces when energy is supplied
  • Not stored as fat. Fully digested into useful energy and not stored as fat.

For many who live outside the tropical regions, don’t get coconuts, import coconut oil and use it for their health. But those in tropical region where coconuts are available don’t value what they have. Kannada saying “Hittala gida maddalla” literally translates to “The plant growing in the backyard is not medicine”.

Dr. Mercola –

CategoriesCoconut Oil

Adulteration in Coconut Oil

Recently, 9 coconut oil brands have been banned by food safety department in kerala.

The department has banned oil brands Kera Plus, Green Kerala, Kerala A-one, Kera Super, Kera drops, Blaze, Pulari, Coco sudham and Kallada Priyam from the state on Wednesday, 8 April, reported Asianet News.

Having experience of 3.5 years in this coconut oil market, this is no news, it has been quite rampant. Here are a few relevant points –

  • A famous entrenched brand of Coconut Oil, market leader in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi is adulterated. It is a great case study of how one can build market leadership by satisfying traders than consumers
  • If the brand from Dakshina Kannada has name ending with letter ‘A’ it is definitely adulterated. A market leader will create many followers, who unfortunately have picked up the same bad habbit.
  • Coconut Oil brands from re-packers are more likely to be adulterated than those from oil manufacturers
  • At all India level, a famous brand from east having 5% national market share with tagline “Mera Pyar …” is not pure coconut oil. Legally speaking they have never claimed it is pure coconut oil, but they have not let the consumers know it is not pure either
  • KLF, a major coconut oil manufacturer in a bid to take on adulterated coconut oil with price is introducing blended coconut oil with sunflower oil
  • Oil Millers from Kerala are best friends of coastal karnataka based traders, as they sell coconut oil at lower price and buy copra from them giving a higher price. How is that possible?
  • Consumers have lost faith in coconut oil. Not because coconut oil is bad, but the coconut oil that they get is so bad. Example of how an industry can devalue the product they sell
  • In the midst of all this, genuine oil millers are getting badly affected, traders measure brands only by price. So a forum was started in Kerala to save coconut oil

Palm Kernel Oil
Palm Kernel Oil among oils is the closest to coconut oil in terms of chemical characteristics especially fatty acid saturation level. It blends easily with coconut oil, price is only about 60% that of coconut oil. So, mixing makes perfect sense. As I observed in North Karnataka market especially Belagavi, 90% of oil that is traded as coconut oil is actually palm kernel oil. I met a witty trader who said, “Your coconut oil prices changes with copra prices, but here it doesn’t, it only varies with palm oil prices”. I couldn’t control my laughter. At the time I visited Belagavi, price of so-called coconut oil was lesser than that of its raw material i.e. copra. Their defense is people in villages like to purchase hair oil at cheaper price, after all it is still a vegetable product.

Chips/Paring Oil
While manufacturing Desiccated Coconut Powder, the black skin in coconut is removed and only kernel is powdered and dried to make final product. This skin is a byproduct. It is dried and sold at about 65% of cost of copra. Like copra it is also rich in oil content. But the quality of oil is inferior to that from copra. Most manufacturers mix these chips with copra for oil extraction. Sophisticated manufacturers extract oil separately, refine, bleach and deodorize it to remove of excess FFA, dark colour and bad odour. This is later mixed with pure coconut oil or packed as it is. There is a large such unit in Tiptur that makes “Kasadinda Rasa” as we say in Kannada, turning a waste into a useful thing. Possible defense is it is oil extracted out of coconut and is hence coconut oil. That unit is not to be blamed (legally) as this oil can be used for making soaps. But the re-packers who buy this oil for marketing as edible oil is to be blamed.

The above 2 forms of adulteration can be detected easily by testing for Iodine Value. Iodine Value indicates the degree of saturation in oil, in fact, Iodine Value is equal to the degree of unsaturation in oil. Coconut Oil being highly saturated (92%) has an IV of about 8. All other oils have IV that is much higher. Due to variations is Copra, the allowed range for IV is 7.5 to 10. Paring Oil will have an IV of about 20 and Palm Kernel Oil about 25. So, Coconut Oils tested to have IV of above 10 is definitely adulterated.

Second grade oil
Best copra is white in colour and has a pleasant odour. Rotten copra will be darker and have pungent smell. Due to inferior quality, they are available at a lesser price compared to superior grade. This copra can be mixed with good quality copra during oil extraction. The resulting oil will appear good, but will deteriorate quickly. Copra manufactured from Coconut comes in all grades. Edible grade sells at highest rate and it is separated. Of the remaining, ideally second quality copra should be segregated, but many millers don’t.

This can be detected by just checking the FFA/Acid Value. Lower the acid value better the quality. Good quality oils have FFA of less than 0.7. Allowed is up to 2.0 for edible use.

Refined Coconut Oil
Excess of FFA (Free Fatty Acids) in Coconut Oil can be chemically removing by neutralising with a base, this is called refining. Coconut Oil extracted from second quality copra or that is solvent extracted from coconut oil cake is refined. This refined oil passes all the chemical parameters of food safety, but consumer is deprived of its taste, aroma and quality. We sell our coconut oil cake to a major solvent extractor in Kerala. I just asked him, where do you sell the coconut oil, he said it is finding major demand among re-packers. Re-packers buy inferior quality coconut oil and mix it with refined coconut oil to balance FFA. Surprisingly refined coconut oil is cheaper than just filtered coconut oil.

Use of refined coconut oil can be detected by again checking for FFA. Even the best quality coconut oil will have FFA not less than 0.4. Refining brings FFA down to 0 also. So, if the FFA is abnormally low, it means it has refined coconut oil.

I have leant these things recently, as I was forced to think and find out how other brands are able to sell their coconut oil at a lesser rate. Initially, I used to think

  • They are getting copra at a lesser price
  • Their manufacturing and overhead expenses are lesser
  • Their oil yield might be better
  • They know how to time the market and buy copra when it is at lower price
  • They are satisfied with lower margins
  • They are just doing it for the sake of brand building

But now I understand the various malpractices that are in vogue. I will write a detailed post later about other malpractices.