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

Coconut oil helps you lose weight. But how?

Coconut oil helps to reduce weight

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.

CategoriesCoconut Oil

How much I love Coconut Oil

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

I have chosen a job that I love, that of building a business. I am marketing a product that I deeply love myself. I living my own life and not someone else. Coconut Oil manufacturing has been a family business started by my father. I didn’t get into it as part of his succession planning, I got into it out of my own interest. Rather he didn’t want me to join it as he didn’t want me to face the hardships that he faced. But I forced myself in and building Cocoguru has been my dream.

Here, I like to discuss about my personal preference for Coconut Oil and experiences with it.

My father started a Coconut Oil mill in Puttur in 1988 and I was in 1st standard class then, it was right next to our home in the same compound. So, I have physically been very close to Coconut Oil mill. But mentally, I wasn’t at all involved in it. Even my younger brother used to get involved in it but I didn’t show an iota of interest in it. My parents used to force me to go there. I used to take the tools to repair my cycle. As I was interested in Physics and Mechanics, I used to observe how motors rotate and power is transmitted from motor to the oil extraction machine. As I showed inclination to studies and brother towards business, it was planned in family that brother would continue the business and I would have a white collar job outside.

Hair Oil
Till I was 25, I never used to apply hair oil. Once I had felt that my hair was feeling dry and felt the need for hair oil. I bought Parachute. It smelled so nice and different from coconut oil manufactured at our mill. I didn’t know why even though it was Pure Coconut Oil, it smelled like that. Then, I assumed it must be perfumed. Also the oil used to retain the quality for longer time. Then I developed the habit of applying coconut oil on my scalp. One to moisturise hair and scalp and Two to experience the fragrance of coconut oil in the process of applying it. I continue the habit today, but this is how the liking towards coconut oil started.

Cooling Effect
When I was in hostel, I used to wash clothes on my own. I was famous for that as I used wash clothes more frequently than others. I had to wash more frequently probably because I used to wear one pair only for one day 🙂 After washing, due to detergents the hands used to feel hot and dry. To moisturise and cool, I used to apply coconut oil on hand, remaining oil on hands and legs. Now, I see coconut oil being used for same reason even in commercial establishments like Cement plants. Today, I get bulk orders from cement plants just for the purpose of cooling and moisturising hands after handling cement.

Oil Pulling
My mother is very health conscious and she used to do oil pulling. She also advised me to do oil pulling for having good oral health. Since I love coconut oil and am looking for new ways to experience it. I started oil pulling, my dental health surely improved. Tooth sensitivity and swollen gums were gone. It is a great way for me to test the quality of our product also. While, oil pulling that is rinsing oil inside the mouth, I wouldn’t mind if I swallow some bit.

Instant Energy
I am someone who like to eat regularly, I like to have my breakfast, lunch and dinner early and at same time everyday. But when I travel, I cannot stick to these routines. I don’t like eating junk food outside. When I feel hungry, my energy levels come down. Then I drink about 5 ml of coconut oil. Coconut oil is different from other edible oils in that it is easily digestible and hence provides instant energy. Also it leaves a very good taste in the mouth.

Sales Pitch
I sometimes go with our sales van to develop new business or get feedback from customers. When I approach a new customer to develop business, he is normally reluctant. Then I pour some drops of oil on his hand to smell it. Since ours is roasted coconut oil it smells more then conventional coconut oil. He now gets interested. He enquires about price and business terms and business starts.
Many times customers have raised doubts about the purity of our product and claim that it is perfumed and not natural. I pour a few drops of oil on my mouth in front of them and swallow it. It convinces them and I get satisfied too.

Oil Smell
A lot of smell comes out of our factory during oil extraction. It reaches the road that is a good 150 metres away all nearby residents. For me to sit in the factory and experience it the whole day is blissful. My clothes retain that smell, when I go out, people ask and I feel good about it. It happens only with Coconut Oil.

On the contrary, my experience with other oils especially Sunflower Oil is different. At my hostel at Mysore, Kitchen was on ground floor and Dining Hall was right above it on 1st floor. Meant all the kitchen smell especially that of cooking oil (Sunflower Oil) would be felt at the dining hall. I was slow at eating, meant I had to experience the smell for longer time. If you don’t like the smell, the time spent feels that much longer. The clothes would retain the smell, so I had to feel it for long time even after I had left the hostel mess. So, I used to wear different set of clothes to mess, take it off and wear a different set once I come back. At a lodging in Erode, the restaurant was right below the room and I had to endure the smell for the whole night. There are a lot of restaurants with poor kitchen ventilation where Oil vapours circulate around our eating tables. I avoid such hotels.

Oily Food
I avoid eating all oily foods when I eat out. Because they mostly use cheaper oils like Sunflower Oil, Palmolein Oil or Vanaspati. A good oil can add a lot of taste and juiciness to food. I particularly like oily foods prepared by Goud Saraswat Brahmin community. At our home oil usage is very less and food tastes bland. A close relative used Cocoguru coconut oil for preparing all the items at their function. I tasted all the items there including Poori and Jilebi that I hadn’t tasted as per my recent memory. At our factory canteen we prepare one deep fried dish a week to test the quality of our oil. For diwali, we prepare Boondi Ladu using our coconut oil and distribute it to employees and customers. There are a few local foods like Charmuri, Omlet, Pathrode, Fish Fry and Banana Chips that must use Coconut Oil to taste good.

Overall, I use coconut oil to appeal to my 3 senses smell, taste and touch. Only a poet can explain well how good it feels rest of us have to experience it to understand it.

CategoriesCoconut Oil

Difference between Roasted and Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

Our new factory at Kallarpe (Aryapu Village, Puttur) manufactures Roasted Coconut Oil. Our new customers have instantly liked it because of its enhanced aroma and taste. But our Old customers who have used Cold Pressed Coconut Oil manufactured from our old factory at Parladka (Puttur) have various kinds of doubts about it. I seek to clear those doubts here.

Cold Press Coconut Oil
Virgin Coconut Oil is many times referred to as Cold Press Coconut Oil. Virgin Coconut Oil is extracted from fresh Coconut. But, here we refer to oil extracted from Copra (dried coconut).

Copra with about 8% moisture is crushed as it is on Rotary Machine (Chuck/Ghana). Oil is filtered through sedimentation of solid particles for 7 days in settling tanks. The process is extremely simple and requires minimum capital investment.

The resulting oil has crystal clear transparent color, smells and tastes like Copra as it is. Many people like this as it is considered to be natural and local made product.

Roasted Coconut Oil
Copra is cut into small pieces and dried using hot air to about 5% moisture level. This copra is heated for about 1 hour on a multi stage steam-jacketed vessel for roasting. A bit of steam is also added to copra for cooking. This opens up the fat cells and helps in easy oil extraction. Oil is then filtered using Pressure Leaf Filter and Filter Press to remove sediments as and when oil is extracted. This process requires more capital investment for a Steam Boiler, Pipeline, Cooker with Agitator and Motor. Also has higher running cost in fuel for steam generation and power.

The resulting oil has a golden yellow color. It has a stronger smell and taste. It has just the same effect as what roasted Ground Nuts give.

During processing, the temperature of oil and oil cake rise up to 100 degrees, while in cold pressed it is only about 60 degrees. In the process the oil loses moisture and reduces the risk of going rancid. Copra gets sterilized as the bacteria and fungus die, which again prolongs shelf life.

At higher temperatures, triglycerides in other oils start breaking into free fatty acids causing rancidity. But Coconut Oil being mostly Saturated Fat and is quite stable. So, roasting does not deteriorate the quality of oil.

Hair Oil manufacturers prefer Roasted Oil for its stronger smell and longer shelf life. It has a 5% premium in the bulk oil market over Cold Pressed variety. But we are selling at the same price to consumers now. It is something new to them here in Dakshina Kannada market and not yet fully accepted. We have been working hard in educating them about this new variety.

Despite so much of difference they are still the same i.e. Coconut Oil. Both of them are made from same quality of copra, they have the same chemical composition, both have the same miraculous health benefits of coconut oil.

Download Write up of Roasted Coconut Oil FAQ