February 23, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

UCAP preliminary data show export of coconut products in January soared 80.1% to 160,340 MT in copra terms from 89,032 MT at the same time year-ago.  The rise in volume was slower at 39.1% when compared with prior month unofficial data at 115,292 MT.  This month total likewise exceeded the monthly average last year at 108,528 MT by a whopping 47.7%.   

            Except for oleochemicals, all products reflected radical year-on-year expansion in export volume and bested respective last year monthly average data.

            Export of coconut oil rocketed 85.3% to 92,033 MT from 49,678 MT and surpassed by 55.0% last year’s monthly average shipment at 59,369 MT.  More than half (54.3%) of the month’s shipment was delivered to Europe at 49,999 MT while the US took in 39,684 MT (43.1%).  The balance at 2,350 MT went to Japan.

            Foreign trade of copra meal leaped 37.1% to 25,672 MT from 18,728 MT.  The volume topped the monthly average last year at 22,911 MT by 12.1%.  Vietnam was market leader responsible for 59.9% at 15,372 MT, followed by India at 6,000 MT (23.4%), and Korea at 4,300 MT (16.7%). 

            Outbound shipment of desiccated coconut shot up 57.5% to 7,636 MT from 4,849 MT to mark its eighth month of successive gains.  The figure slightly exceeded by 5.5% the previous year’s monthly average at 7,235 MT.

            In contrast, export of oleochemicals dropped 7.8% to 2,450 MT as copra from 2,658 MT and likewise lagged behind from the monthly average at 3,101 MT by 21.0%.  There was no reported shipment of copra during the month as against 23 MT reported last year.


Nutrient-rich tender coconut water is now available in powder form in delightful packs, said a news report in BusinessLine, crediting the development to a pioneering work by a Kerala-based start-up, NaturUp Consumer Products which uses modern spray drying technology to remove the water/moisture from the nut to generate the powder. 

            Antony S. Pathadan, NaturUp promoter explained spray drying is used to heat liquids and emulsions to remove moisture to generate a stable powder.  The powder retains the natural attributes of rich nutrients, essential electrolytes, vitamins and mineral associated with tender coconuts.  The powder packs are ideal for gym, camping sites, kid’s events, at work places, and pack neatly into one’s travel bag. “We capture the authentic taste of tender coconut water and add no preservative, artificial flavour, or colour. Our product is 100% gluten-free.”

            The manufacturing unit is licensed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.  It also has FDA approval for export to various countries. The manufacturing plant is based at Puducherry.  It uses only coconut water, while the pulp is given to ice-cream manufacturers. Thus, it saves on costs of storing, processing of whole coconut shells and managing waste.  NaturUP collects coconuts of South Indian origin for sourcing water. It has a shelf-life of a year but once the pack is opened, it lasts for not more than six hours, Pathadan said.


Hungarian businessmen have urged their Indonesian counterparts to export more coconut products to their country, TheJakartPost reported last week.  “Today’s coconut supplies from around the world, including Indonesia, don’t meet demand in Hungary and other countries in central and eastern Europe,” said Hungarian businessman Adam Kapas, whose company Mayers Kft is a major Indonesian coconut importer.

            Adam said the high demand for coconut products and short supplies led to continuing increases in price, especially for coconut oil, which increased between 7 and 10 percent each month in 2016.   He estimates that Hungary needs 1.5 million liters of coconut milk and 500,000 liters of coconut oil per year. His firm supplies 700,000 liters of coconut milk annually to the domestic market.

            Indonesian coconut exports to Hungary include coconut cooking oil, desiccated coconut, coconut water, coconut cream, coconut milk and coconut sugar. Trade Ministry data show that coconut product exports saw healthy growth in past years. Export value increased nearly 15 percent as of October 2016 from the same period in 2015.  In 2015, the value rose 20.7 percent to 2.2 million euro (US$2.3 million) from the previous year.


Indian consumer goods company, Marico, is hoping to get better margins by making super premium edible oil segment under Saffola.  There is a possibility of creating a blended olive oil variant in the franchise to compete with olive and canola oil brands which have eaten into its shares.  However, this will not be the first time that Saffola is planning an entry into the olive oil category.  It had introduced an extra virgin oil under its franchise in early 2000, which was subsequently withdrawn. 

            Saffola though, with a 65% percent share, has basically been a blended oil with variants like Gold, Activ, Tasty Blend and Total (with rice bran and safflower), being a major part of its blends.  According to Marico, edible oil has not been impacted by demonetisation and continues to grow as the Saffola refined edible oils franchise has been growing at 6 percent in volume during the third quarter.

            While Saffola is expected to cater to the super premium segment, Marico is targeting the bottom of the pyramid with its coconut oil franchise under Parachute.  Since coconut oil is also used as an edible oil, Marico may seek opportunities of getting virgin coconut oil into the country.


A joint project between the RSPO and Solidaridad West Africa-Cote d’Ivoire, will be implemented in the next three years to target 5,000 Ivorian smallholders to help sustainable palm oil production become the norm.  The certification programme, announced by RSPO early this month, will be one of the largest ever conducted on behalf of smallholders.

            Cote d’Ivoire is Africa’s third largest palm oil producer.  The government has led an initiative since 2012 to increase production from 400,000 tons/year to 600,000 tons/year by 2020.  The RSPO said the certification programme would help to guarantee this increase in production took place sustainably.  It expected the programme would sustainably increase yields in Cote d’Ivoire through best management practices.  The project would also give farmers the opportunity to attend training sessions and be part of a farming management transformation process that guaranteed positive social and economic impact in their daily lives.


Bunge North America announced last month that it was planning to build its first new processing plant in the USA in 15 years under plans to improve the productivity of its soybean processing footprint in eastern United States.  Ohio and Indiana were under final consideration as location for the new facility. The plant is expected to go on line by the end of 2019.

            Looking at the long-term demand for soya products, the company saw a need to improve its asset footprint in the eastern USA, a key market.  “A state-of the-art facility in the Eastern Corn Belt that incorporates the latest productivity, safety and sustainability features combined with an increase in overall efficiency of our existing footprint will ensure Bunge can serve growing demand in the southeastern US feed and export markets,” said Tim Gallagher, executive vice president, oilseed value chain, Bunge North America.

            Bunge North America is the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, a supplier of raw and processed agricultural commodities and specialized food ingredients to the animal feed, food processing, foodservice and bakery industries.  Its subsidiaries operate grain elevators, oilseed procesing plants, edible oil refineries and packaging facilities, and corn, wheat and rice mills in the USA, Canada and Mexico.


Gov. Doug Burgum and leaders of Minnesota Soybean Processors (MnSP) and its subsidiary North Dakota Soybean Processors (NDSP) announced  recently that MnSP is taking steps toward construction of a $240 million soybean processing plant, the first of its kind in North Dakota at Spiritwood, N.D.  

            The plant would be an integrated soybean crush facility and refinery, with crushing capacity of 125,000 bushels of soybeans per day.  It would annually produce 900,000 tons of soybean meal, which is usually used as livestock feed for poultry and swine but can also be used for cattle, and 490 million pounds of oil.  Half of the oil will be used to produce biodiesel, while the other half will be food-grade soybean oil.


EU member states have rejected a European Commission (EC) proposal to authorise the first new GM crops for cultivation since the late 1990s, reported last month citing FoodIngredientsFirst.

            The European Commission (EC) had proposed to allow two Genetically Modified (GM) maize types for growing from Syngenta and Dow-Pioneer, BT11 and 1507, as well as renewing the only GM maize currently approved for cultivation in Europe, Monsanto’s Mon810.  The three crops had been genetically modified to produce insecticide in their own cells and the two new maize types could tolerate Bayer’s glufosinate herbicide.  A majority of national governments rejected the proposal but failed to get the qualified majority (55% of member states representing 65% of the population) necessary to ban the GM crops outright.

            The EC is the EU’s politically independent executive arm and is alone responsible for drawing up proposals for new European law, as well as implementing the decisions of the European Parliament and Council of the EU.  Under EU rules, the EC could now either reject the GM authorisations, change their details and ask governments to vote again, or send them to an appeal committee.  It was reported that 12 member states voted against the renewal of Mon810 while 13 countries voted against authorisation of BT11 and 1507.


New research suggests three main barriers namely high prices, consumer confusion, and store placement are holding back the full potential of natural and organic products. “With steady and continues growth since the economic downturn, the natural/organic industry’s growth has been in the range of 10% for the last four years of growth, a rate that surpassed the growth of the overall food industry,” according to a new report from the full service marketing company Acosta. 

            More than 60% of consumers across channels agree that price is far the biggest barrier to purchasing natural and organic products, according to Acosta.  But it also notes that this is changing with shrinking price differential between conventional and natural/organic items, making natural/organic more accessible.  It attributes this shift to three major factors: 1) increased competition among retailers in all channels to capture the natural/organic shopper; 2) the basic theory that as demand increases so too will supply, which will drive down price; and 3) the consolidation and acquisition of small natural brands by large companies that can buy supply in bulk, and therefore, offer deeper promotions.

            The runner-up for the biggest barrier across all channels is ‘conflicting information/studies about products,” Acosta notes.  With labels as source of main information, its design should be educational, and so are signages which are also a source of product information. On the other hand, strategic in-store placement of products maximizes sales, Acosta said. At present, shoppers prefer them to be separate, but this could change as 60% of millennials prefer them to be integrated with conventional products sold alongside organic options, Acosta concludes. 

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