Enlarged consumption of virgin coconut oil for its health beneficiary
properties has provided the major boost to the ever-increasing demand for
coconut oil in non-coconut producing regions such as Europe and the United
States, which has significantly augmented the business of major coconut oil
producing countries. The Philippines, Indonesia, and India among other major
coconut oil producing countries have been observing increasing demand for virgin
coconut oil from Europe and U.S.
As per the data of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) conceals that there more than 1,000% upsurge in the export value of coconut crude oil which accounted for worth USD 94.80 million in the first quarter of 2017. The export market for the Philippines accounts for more than 75% of its total coconut industry value and the top export market include the Netherlands, the United States, and Italy. In India also the export of virgin coconut oil also recorded a surprising growth of 340% during 2015-16. India has exported about 70% of its total export volume to the United States which accounted for nearly 6,600 tonnes in the same period. Moreover, major coconut producing countries are also focusing on expanding their cultivation and to plant new coconut trees to increase their production and to meet increasing demand for virgin coconut oil and crude coconut oil. For instance, in the Philippines apart from replanting and fertilization, hybridization measures are still ongoing to increase coconut yield. Hybridized farms in Davao (189 hectares), North Cotabato (200 hectares), and Zamboanga (300 hectares) are the major hybrid producers in the Philippines.
Besides Europe and United States, Malaysia and China are also the major importers of coconut oil which are importing coconut oil for its processing to manufacture RBD coconut oil and other byproducts. People in European countries and U.S are more concerned about their health and its interconnection with their diets. This has a major influence on the growth of healthier food demand, including vegetable oils. Virgin coconut oil has a great appeal within the health products market as it does not contain trans-fatty acids, it has a high level of lauric acid and is not refined and bleached. Consequently, virgin coconut oil has turned out to be one of the iconic products of the health and wellness trend in the European and American markets.
The consumer market is the largest segment of the virgin coconut oil and thus distribution channels and positive branding of the product plays a vital role in the development of virgin coconut oil industry. This is where the coconut oil is packed for direct consumption as cooking oil and butter. The virgin coconut oil products were primarily accessible through health shops, but nowadays most mainstream supermarkets and online distribution channels in Western Europe and the U.S have virgin coconut oil in their assortment. On the other major market, players are marketing their products by celebrity endorsements and with health benefitting claims which is further propelling the virgin coconut oil market growth.
However, declining yield of coconut in the majority of countries due to old trees and loses in crops since last year because of the El Niņo effect, which is the major factor behind bringing scorching weather across Pacific countries. The export of virgin coconut oil could not maintain the expected growth in the first half of 2017 in spite of the significant demand for organic virgin coconut oil as the export targets could not be met by many coconut oil exporting countries due to limited production of certified organic virgin coconut oil. But weather forecasters believe that the weather event to slowly weaken over the next coming months in 2018, bringing relief to the coconut industry that has been fighting dropping output from aging trees and damage from natural disasters.