5 tips to make sure your Coconut products are top quality and ethically sourced
Coconut products are very popular right now because they taste great and contain healthy fats. NutriCraft is doing a lot of business selling desiccated coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour, creamed coconut, coconut butter and MCT oil. It seems like everyone, the world over, is using coconuts in their cooking and baking!
There are many coconuts in the tropics. But not all coconuts are the same. Some of the best coconuts come from Sri Lanka, where we get ours. We are fortunate to have been in this business a long time and to have found great partners but coming to it cold can be a bit of a nightmare. There is so much to consider, and so many unknowns. How can you ever be sure you’re getting the best quality and ethically sourced produce? With the help of our Sri Lankan partners, we’ve compiled this list of things to consider for this latest instalment of Meet The Makers.
Where your coconut products come from
Always check the origin of your food. The best coconuts are organic certified. The certification process means that all the land used to grow the coconut palms is organically certified and forbids hybrid and genetically modified trees. In addition, it is important to make sure that the supplier has done their due diligence and is confident that no child or animal labour is used to pick the coconuts.
How your coconut products are processed
Coconuts must be processed at a low temperature to preserve their goodness. Lower temperatures help to keep the nutrients in the coconut's fat, or oil, from being damaged. Look for products that are labelled as "cold pressed" coconut oil. Be aware of products that are labelled as "refined," "deodorised," or have undergone any bleaching process. This is important not only for pure coconut oil but also for all coconut products that have high-fat content, such as coconut butter.
The quality of your coconut products
The supplier should be able to demonstrate that their coconut product has not been treated with radiation, does not contain gluten, and does not contain trans fatty acids. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat but not trans fats. If a product contains trans fats it has been adulterated or hydrogenated and is not of good quality.
Lab testing your coconut products
All oils should be tested in a lab. Suppliers should be able to provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for every batch. The COA should show that the oil is rich in Lauric acid (50%) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) (14%). The iodine value is also important. While not tested on a standard COA, the best virgin coconut oil (made from just the white flesh of the coconut), will have a value between 4 and 6. If the whole kernel is used, this can raise to 7. Lower-quality refined and industrial coconut oils can go as high as 11.
Checking for microorganisms
It's also important to check for microorganisms like Staphylococcus. The COA will tell you if it's present at a safe level. Some microorganisms, like Salmonella and E. coli, should not be present at all. To have a safe level of microbes, the environment should be de-humidified and sterile, and only food-grade materials should be used for packaging. There should also be no Alfatoxin present. If there is, the oil was likely made from copra (dried coconut flesh) rather than fresh coconut meat.
We hope you found this information useful! It will help you understand these wonderful ingredients better and make informed choices when looking for a supplier.