Virgin Coconut Oil: How To Export Virgin Coconut Oil To Europe From Nigeria – Part 1

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– Within Europe, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Sweden are the main importing markets for virgin coconut oil.
– The Philippines and Sri Lanka are the largest exporters of virgin coconut oil to Europe.
Coconut oil in general is obtained by pressing the fresh meat of the coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) using a mechanical process. Coconut oil may help reduce hunger, improve oral health, possibly reduce seizures, and more.
Coconut oil has become increasingly popular cooking oil. Many people praise it for its health benefits, including antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, improved skin and oral health, and weight loss potential.
In this article we will be treating virgin coconut oil exclusively.
The European market for virgin coconut oil has grown significantly over the last few years. This is mainly because of growing consumer attention to healthier diets. Initially, virgin coconut oil was only available at health shops. Virgin coconut oil has now become popular in mainstream supermarkets and its industrial applications are growing.

Product Description:

Virgin coconut oil is obtained by pressing the fresh meat of the coconut (Cocos nucifera L.). It is extracted by a mechanical process without chemical changes. The oil remains in its most natural form. In this form it retains the smell and taste of coconut as well as its high content of vitamin-E, minerals and healthy medium chain fatty acids.

Virgin coconut oil has no trans-fatty acids and has a high level of lauric acid (about 50%). It is also low in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PFAs) compared to oils such as soybean and groundnut oils. Virgin coconut oil can be used as a spread, a cooking oil and food ingredient. While these facts only cover the food market or industry, virgin coconut oil is also used extensively in the cosmetics industry.

Quality Of Virgin Coconut Oil:

Virgin coconut oil is derived from the fresh and mature kernel (flesh) of the coconut. The coconut must be at the right ripeness (partially or completely brown) and free from metals, dirt and other foreign materials before it is processed.

The oil should be colourless, sediment free, with a natural fresh coconut scent and free from rancid odors or tastes. It cannot undergo chemical refining, bleaching or de-odorizing processes. Good quality virgin coconut oil should taste and smell like coconut and should easily melt.

What are the major issues buyers will be looking at before taking decision to buy from you?
Buyers will look at two main factors to determine the quality of your product:
1) Moisture content, which should not exceed 0.5%;
2) Lauric acid content, which should range between 45 and 50%.

The oil is ideally produced within 48 hours after harvesting the coconut in order to safeguard freshness. Quality is highest if the oil is extracted from the first pressing of the coconut. Virgin coconut oil can also be centrifuged at 8,000 rpm to separate the oil from any left-over solids and to increase the quality of your product.

Storage is also crucial to keep high quality. Virgin coconut oil should be stored at room temperature and protected from light.
European sales of virgin coconut oil have experienced a booming growth since 2013, according to industry sources.
Some trusted sources reported a 67% increase in sales of their organic virgin coconut oil in the first 3 months of 2015 alone.

However, the European market has started to stabilize in 2016. While the booming growth of virgin coconut oil is tacking, the market is still increasing and expanding into industrial applications. This will allow you to continue exploring opportunities on the European market and to fine-tune your access strategy. For example, direct trade with manufacturers might be possible for some suppliers.

The Biggest Importers Of Virgin Coconut Oil In Europe:
Figures from producing countries indicate that Europe lags behind North America as a destination for virgin coconut oil exports. Within Europe, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Sweden are the main importing markets.

The Largest Exporters Of Virgin Coconut Oil To Europe:
The Philippines and Sri Lanka are the largest exporters of virgin coconut oil to Europe. Other supplying countries can be found on the website of the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC). This association represents over 90% of the global coconut production and exports.

Since 2015, the main destinations in Europe for the Philippines were:
They are the Netherlands (9%), Germany (8%), Belgium (2%) and the United Kingdom (2%). Apart from Europe, exports from the Philippines were directed to the United States (59%), Canada (8%) and Japan (4%).

Sri Lankan exports to Europe in 2015 were concentrated in a few countries: Germany (10%), the United Kingdom (7%), the Netherlands (4%) and Sweden (3%).
The largest markets outside Europe were the United States (41%), Japan (12%), Australia (12%) and Canada (3%).
How can Nigeria Play in the global Coconut Game?
The above statistics show the major countries that are currently playing the big boys in the virgin coconut oil market. Nigeria is currently in the 18th position in the world for coconut production and there are lots of opportunities to improve. In our next article on this we will show you how.

Stay with us for more.

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