Coconuts Go Upscale, Boosting Price of Conventional Coconut Oil
Coconut water and sugar make a splash, reducing supply for use as ingredients in less sexy products like dish detergent.
PHOTO: REUTERS/ANTARA FOTO
Coconut oil prices have soared nearly 20% in a month, largely because of the growing popularity of specialty products such as coconut water.
In supermarkets, coconuts are being sold with pull tabs to be drunk like beer. Coconut sugar is being touted as healthier for diabetics. And U.S. actress Gwyneth Paltrow is among celebrity coconut fans, once revealing she swishes around virgin coconut oil for oral health and whitening her teeth.
Such trendy products come from young green coconuts, fresh coconut and the trees’ flowers. That leaves less dried coconut—copra—to be made into the conventional oil that is used in everything from dish detergent to medicine.
The result has been a jump in prices since February, to an average in March of $1,448 a metric ton, according to World Bank data released late Wednesday. That is more than 50% higher than the average price in 2013.
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