This company won the Prime Minister's Export Award this year & has established distribution networks in Russia, China & Japan, does R&D also.
Pressed for success, Coconut oil manufacturer rides resurgence among health-conscious to strong exports by Somporn Thapanachai
Mistaken as an unhealthy oil for several decades, coconut oil has fought its way back into the hearts of health-conscious consumers as a nutritious food.
No business is happier than Tropicanaoil Co, a producer of virgin coconut oil and the winner of this year's Prime Minister's Export Award under the OTOP Export Recognition category.
The company started its cold-pressed 100% coconut oil seven years ago by distributing through health-food shops. The market was small in the beginning but output has skyrocketed to 10,000 litres a month once consumers learned more about the properties of the product.
Tropicanaoil anticipates 60 million baht in sales this year from retailing its oil at 550 baht a litre along with several healthcare products using coconut oil as their main ingredient. The company targets 30% growth next year through expansion in both domestic and overseas markets.
Suradej Ninek, the company's managing director, recalled that the road to success was a bumpy one as it took consumers a while to learn about the benefits of virgin coconut oil.
The production process of many coconut oil crushers a decade ago was not well developed, casting doubt on quality. The first group to latch on to Tropicanaoil's product were health-conscious people over 45 who are educated and have purchasing power. Now a younger market is paying attention to coconut oil for beauty care.
Around 70% of sales are from the domestic market, where half consume it and the other half use it for beauty products.
He noted the quality of company's oil offers an advantage over other producers in Asia-Pacific and it will continue to focus on Russia, China and Japan where it has already established distribution networks. However, it will also expand more in Asean, particularly in Vietnam, in order to reap the benefits of the planned single market.
Tropicanaoil invested in getting its factory in Nakhon Pathom certified to meet Good Manufacturing Practice and HACCP standards. It also aims to achieve ISO 22000 guidelines next year. .
"Word of mouth helped us survive in the beginning," said the native of the Tapi River Basin in Surat Thani province where coconut has been grown for centuries.
Mr Suradej is convinced coconuts from his hometown are of better quality than other parts of the country due to the fertile soil and brackish water there, so the company is willing to pay to transport about 100,000 coconuts a month from more than 100 planters on 1,000 rai of plantation.
"Luckily transport costs are low as trucks that deliver goods to Southern provinces would return empty otherwise so we get a reduced rate," he said.
word of mouth - word of mouth advertising, free advertisiting when customers who like your product tell their friends and family and they, in turn, tell their friends, and so on, until everyone knows about your product (See Wikipedia)
Tropicanaoil also sells coconut by-products, particularly shell that is used in the production of mosquito coils and powdered carbon.
The price of coconuts has risen from only a few baht each many years ago to a high of 27 baht earlier this year, as a pest outbreak greatly diminished output. Coconuts are now 16-19 baht each, but may reach 25 baht if some traders stock coconut to manipulate its price.
"A whole coconut can be kept for 45 days after harvest, providing plenty of time to bet on the price," said Mr Suradej.
After failing in the shoe industry, Mr Suradej believes R&D is the key to success in this field, leading his company to sign a 20-year memorandum of understanding to help fund students at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Silpakorn University to research how to add value to coconut oil, especially as an ingredient in beauty care and pharmaceuticals.
The company also works with Rajabhat Nakhon Pathom to hold packaging contests to find the most suitable container for its products.
(Source: Bangkok Post, Pressed for success, Coconut oil manufacturer rides resurgence among health-conscious to strong exports, 11/10/2011, Somporn Thapanachai, link)
Coconut Industry Vocabulary
coconut - actually not a "nut" at all, the name "coconut" was given by 16th century Portuguese and Spanish from the word "cocos" meaning "grinning face" from the three small holes on the coconut shell that resembles a human face: "a tree found across much of the tropics "the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many domestic, commercial, and industrial uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diet of many people. Its endosperm is known as the edible 'flesh' of the coconut; when dried it is called copra. The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is a refreshing drink and can be processed to create alcohol. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it" (See Wikipedia)
coconut oil - "an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconut harvested from the coconut palm ... Throughout the tropical world, it has provided the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people for generations. It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry" (See Wikipedia)
cold-pressed 100% coconut oil - "coconut oil can be extracted through "dry" or "wet" processing. Dry processing requires the meat to be extracted from the shell and dried using fire, sunlight, or kilns to create copra. The copra is pressed or dissolved with solvents, producing the coconut oil and a high-protein, high-fiber mash" (See Wikipedia)
health-food store - "a type of grocery store that primarily sells health food, organic foods, local produce, and often nutritional supplements. Health food stores often offer foods for people with special dietary needs, such as people with allergies and diabetics, and also for vegans, vegetarians, and people living entirely on raw food" (See Wikipedia)
health food shop - same as "health-food store"
pressed - tried in a determined way to achieve something กดดัน
pressed for success - tried hard for success; worked hard to achieve success
resurgence - a new increase of activity or interest in a particular subject or idea which had been forgotten for some time การฟื้นคืน, การกลับสู่สภาพ
conscious - aware; noticing that something exists or is happening and realising that it is important ความสำนึก ความตระหนักถึง
health-conscious consumers - people who buy things to make them more healthy (food, vitamins, dietary supplements, skin products)
mistaken - incorrect belief; wrong belief
mistaken as unhealthy - it is healthy, but people incorrectly believed it was unhealthy
decades - periods of ten years เป็นสิบๆปี
several decades - 20, 30, 40, 50+ ... years
consumers - people who buy things (individuals and families)
nutritious food - healthy food; food with chemicals to help make their body grow to be strong and healthy (See Wikipedia)
producer - a person who makes the practical and financial arrangements needed to make a film, play, television or radio programme ผู้อำนวยการสร้างภาพยนต์, ผู้ผลิต
producer of virgin coconut oil
Prime Minister's Export Award - an award by the Thai government given to showcase export products that meet high standards and quality, awards begin in 1992 (See website)
OTOP - Thailand's program to promote products made locally in villages
category - a group of people or things that have similar qualities หมวดหมู่ ประเภท
skyrocketed - increased suddenly by a very large amount ที่สูงขึ้นมาก
output has skyrocketed to 10,000 litres a month
the properties of the product.
anticipates 60 million baht in sales this year
retailing - the sale of goods from a fixed location, such as a department store or convenience store, in small amounts for direct consumption by the buyer (See Wikipedia)
retailing its oil at 550 baht a litre
healthcare - the treatment and prevention of diseases and other medical problems
healthcare products - products used in the treatment of diseases and health problems
ingredient - one of the substances that are combined to make something ส่วนผสม
targets - goals or levels you plan to achieve
targets 30% growth next year
expansion - when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
domestic - within the country ภายในประเทศ
expansion in both domestic and overseas markets
recalled - remembered นึกทบทวน จำได้
the road to success was a bumpy one
benefits - goods things that can happen from anm activity ผลประโยชน์
benefits of virgin coconut oil
process - a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
production process- the series of actions taken to produce a product
production process not well developed
well developed production process
crush - the press or squeeze something very hard and break it up กด, ทำให้แตก,บด
coconut oil crushers - workers who break the coconut up so it can turned into oil
decade - a period of ten years ทศวรรษ, ระยะเวลา 10 ปี
a decade ago - 10 years before now, in the past
doubt - not know for sure if something is true or false, uncertain
casting doubt on quality
latch on to - grab, attach themselves to
the first group to latch on to Tropicanaoil's product - the first group to start using the product regularly
purchasing power - having high income and lots of money to buy things
consume - 1. eat some food; 2. to use a supply of something for some purpose ใช้จนหมดไป
advantage - a condition giving a greater chance of success at whatever you are doing ความได้เปรียบ
focus - the main thing it is concerned with ให้ความสำคัญ
established - be in a successful position over a long period of time มีตำแหน่งที่มั่นคง ก่อตั้่ง
distribution - delivering things to many people (such as products to stores) การจำหน่ายออกไป
established distribution networks - have a system for delivering their product to certain stores (that always buy their product)
expand - to become larger ขายตัวออกไป
expand in ASEAN - sell more of their product to other countries in ASEAN (Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Burma, Cambodia, etc)
reap the benefits of the planned single market - gain and profit from the single ASEAN market (that will exist in the future)
certified - inspected officially and verified that the company follows the rules ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ
Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) - practices and the systems for pharmaceutical manufacturing, quality control covering the manufacture and testing of drugs including active pharmaceutical ingredients, diagnostics, foods, pharmaceutical products, and medical devices (See Wikipedia)
standards - 1. an acceptable level of quality or achievement มาตรฐาน; 2. a rule for behaving which should be obeyed บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ
HACCP standards - Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (pronounced: "hasup") is "a systematic preventive approach to food safety and pharmaceutical safety that addresses physical, chemical, and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. ... The system is used at all stages of food production and preparation processes including packaging, distribution, etc" (See Wikipedia)
guidelines - rules to help guide action แนวทาง นโยบาย
ISO 22000 guidelines - the global ISO standards for food safety (See Wikipedia)
survive - to continue to exist, stay alive อยู่รอด สืบต่อไปได้ รอดพ้น มีชีวิตรอด
native - someone who was born in a particular place ชาวพื้นเมือง
convinced - certain; sure แน่ใจ, มั่นใจ
X is convinced that Y - X is sure and certain that Y is true, that Y is the case
fertile soil - describes land that can produce a large number of good quality crops อุดมสมบูรณ์
brackish water - slightly salty water
transport - to move people or things from one place to another ขนส่ง
planters - farmers who plant and grow crows เกษตรกรผู้ปลูกพืชไร่
plantation - a large farm where crops such as tea, coffee, cotton, sugar or, in this case, trees, are grown ไร่ นาขนาดใหญ่
empty - having nothing inside ว่างเปล่า
trucks would return empty - meaning: the trucks carried goods one way, but when they came back they would normally be empty (so filling the trucks could get a reduced price)
reduced rate - a lower price
by-product - and extra good produced when producing something else
coconut by-products - the extra goods you get when you are producing coconuts
mosquito coil - mosquito-repelling chemicals shaped into a spiral. Burning usually begins at the outer end of the spiral and progresses slowly toward the centre of the spiral, producing a smoke that drives mosquitoes away (See Wikipedia)
powdered carbon - carbon in fine powder form
pest outbreak - when insects that damage plants come in great numbers
traders - people or companies that buy and sell things for profit
stock - an amount of something that you keep so that you can use it when you need it ที่เก็บไว้ในสต๊อก
manipulate - to control something or someone to your advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly ชักใย
some traders stock coconut to manipulate its price.
harvest - gathering fully grown crops from the field เก็บเกี่ยว การเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต
plenty - having more than enough of what you need to live อุดมสมบูรณ์
plenty of time - having more than enough time (to do something)
bet - gamble (example: He lost 100,000 baht with one bet on a football match)
plenty of time to bet on the price - enough time for gambling on what the price will be
R&D - research and development, when resaerchers at a university or other research center try to apply science to discover new products with new features or new cheaper and more efficient ways to produce products (See Wikipedia)
key - important คนสำคัญ
field - an area of study, highly trained work or research (example: Entry into the field of medicine is gained only after many years of rigorous study.)
the key to success in this field
memorandum - an informal legal agreement ข้อตกลง
memorandum of understanding - an informal written agreement between two organizations that explains how they plan to do business or some project with each other and what their relationship will be (See Wikipedia)
fund - to provide money for something ให้เงินทุน
fund students - provide money to students so they can attend school (pay tuition and living expenses)
beauty care - products used to make a person more beautiful, includes cosmetics and also personal care products
pharmaceuticals - medicine, drugs ยา
packaging - the container or covering for a product while it is waiting to be sold in stores
suitable - right for a situation; acceptable or right for someone or something เหมาะสม