Coconut oil is something of a comforting balm to so many industries and many pantries alike. From haircare products to bottles of raw oil ready for kitchen use, it’s anything but a one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it ingredient. Far from it. If you’re interested in exploring the diverse applications of coconut oil, check out our comprehensive product list here.
There’s a diverse variety of oils just waiting to be explored, each with its own benefits and applications. As bulk ingredient importers who work with some of the world’s finest coconut oil manufacturers and coconut farmers, we have a unique front-row seat to the production of multiple coconut oils.
So let’s take a walk down the yellow brick road of this versatile coconut oil Wonderland and explore some of the finer details that go into the making of these.
Not all coconut oils are created equally
There are two categories of edible coconut oil on the market: refined coconut oil and virgin coconut oil.
Refined oil is generally referred to as RBD oil, which stands for refined, bleached, and deodorized. These refined oils are made from dried coconut kernels and use natural filtration methods or chemicals and solvents to remove impurities and foreign particles from the oil. As a result, certain natural characteristics of the virgin substance, such as its taste or odor, are removed, leaving you with a bland-tasting, clear oil.
Virgin coconut oil is, as you’d expect, the opposite. It goes through minimal stages of refinement and is made from fresh coconut meat (wet or dehydrated) so that the final product retains as much of its nutrients as possible.
How is bulk coconut oil made?
The process of creating coconut oil is a straightforward, yet meticulous one:
Stage 1: Grated coconut meat is mixed with water to create a thick, creamy mixture.
Stage 2: The coconut milk is then extracted from the mixture through cold press (to obtain raw virgin coconut oil heated under 115ᵒ F), expeller press (which increases the moisture levels in the oil), or solvents (specifically used for copra, which we’ll get to below).
Stage 3: After the extraction, the coconut oil is separated from the milk. Because of the difference in density, this can occur naturally over an extended period or under the application of low heat. However, most manufacturers use a combination of boiling, fermentation, enzymes, mechanical centrifuge, hydrolysis, and the use of chemicals and solvents (only for RBD oil) to separate the oil from the milk.
Organic RBD oil manufacturers rely on natural filtration methods, including citric acid and activated carbon, to achieve the same purification and refinement as chemicals would.
What part of the coconut is used to make coconut oil?
The use of dehydrated and dried coconut kernels (the white “meat”) is the most common in the production of coconut oil, where the dried and grated kernel can be rehydrated to remove the coconut milk content.
While containing slightly fewer nutrients than the premium oil produced during the wet hand-milling of fresh coconut oil, the dehydrated method is the most beneficial to bulk coconut oil production.
When the coconut kernel is dried artificially, in a kiln, or through smoking, the result is copra. Because of the artificial drying methods used, copra goes through additional refinement in the production stages to remove any impurities and foreign particles.
The result is RBD coconut oil. The nutritional profile of RBD coconut oil is lower than with either wet-milling or traditional dehydrated bulk coconut oil production, with less lauric acid and other medium-chain fatty acids retained in the final product. However, due to its bland flavor and translucent color, RBD oil has become a go-to ingredient for its functional characteristics in cooking and baking.
So with the basic knowledge of what goes into the production of bulk coconut oil, it’s time to ask which oil is best for your brand and find out how a wholesale importer can help you source the highest quality product.
Coconut MCT Oil RBD VS Coconut MCT Oil VCO
Refined, bleached, and deodorized (RBD) oil is light-colored and has a bland taste, making it perfect for sautéing, roasting, frying, and baking – the whole family of culinary preparations. Thanks to its ability to go undercover, It’s also an ideal base or cooking enabler in products like blended cooking oils, margarine, and even ice cream.
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) is made directly from fresh coconut meat with minimal refinement stages. The result is a purer, more nutrient oil that has retained its mild natural coconut flavor and aroma. VCO is perfectly suited for cooking and baking applications that benefit from coconut characteristics, as well as hair-, skin-, and healthcare products that benefit from the retained nutrients.
But these products have been around the block a few times. Of late, the buzz around coconut oil has centered primarily around MCT oil and its diverse benefits.
What is MCT oil?
Just as the preparation methods behind coconut oil lead to two different types of coconut oil overall, so too the finer preparation differences lead to variations within the possibilities of unrefined virgin coconut oil as well.
By separating the caprylic and capric acid from other fats in coconut oil, manufacturers can produce what’s known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) or medium-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have a special place in the food industry because they are absorbed into the body quickly and converted to energy by the liver with minimal effort, along with a string of other health benefits. As such, bulk importers have added MCT oils to their regular order lists to meet the demand of this latest consumer trend.
What are the different types of MCTs?
There are four types of MCTs, C6, C8, C10, and C12. The “C” in the name comes from the number of carbon atoms the oil contains (6 to 12). This relates to the speed with which the fatty acid is metabolized and absorbed into the bloodstream. The longer the stain, the longer the absorption process.
This is why it’s the middle two that we’ll focus on because C8 and C10 increase ketone levels the best, the molecule that’s needed to break down fat instead of glucose for energy and suppress the hunger hormone. While absorbed fast, C6 packs a bitter taste and can cause GI distress, while C12 is a longer-chain fatty acid and takes a long time to metabolize.
Coconut MCT Oil Pure C8 VS Coconut MCT Oil Pure C10
As with any coconut product, both C8 and C10 pack a punch when it comes to nutritious benefits:
- Provides stable energy and mental clarity
- Increases exercise performance
- Fights infections
- Improves gut health
- Improves digestion
- Fights off fungal infections
But what’s the difference between C8 and C10? Not much in fact.
C8 is absorbed quicker by the liver and is best suited for brands looking for a quicker energy release in their products. C10, on the other hand, has a deeper coconut taste that makes it a favorite in baking products and products where the coconut aroma adds a welcome element to the final experience of the product.
How do I choose the right coconut oil?
Choosing the right bulk coconut oil shouldn’t be a matter of guesswork. And with ingredient brothers as your supplier, it never will be.
We’re a wholesale importer and sourcing partner that understands the importance of choosing the right ingredients for your brand and your customers, and we help you source precisely the ingredients that you need.
Get in touch with us so we can set off down the road to this coconut oil Wonderland together.