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Exporting Desiccated Coconuts to Europe

Desiccated coconut is the disintegrated and dehydrated kernel from mature coconuts.Desiccated coconut is manufactured from the fresh mature nuts. Shredded coconut is usually produced in seven grades. In the order of their fineness, they are – macaroon, fine, medium, coarse, chips, tapes and shreds. The fine and medium grades are largely exported. The demand basically exists for the fine and medium grades of desiccated coconut resembling coarse soji.

Desiccated coconut is mainly used in the manufacture of sweets, cake dressings, pastries, chocolates and biscuit industry. It is also used in curries and puddings in place of raw coconut or copra. The major consumers of desiccated coconut are biscuit and confectionery industry, bakeries and sweet stalls. Some industries manufacturing desiccated coconut have reported that 30% of their production goes to biscuit manufacturers, 10% to confectionery, 60% to local bakeries and sweetmeat stalls.

During manufacture of desiccated coconut the following byproducts are obtained : Shells are collected separately and primarily used for the manufacture of activated charcoal. The parings (red testa removed from the kernel) are separately collected, dried and crushed in an expeller for oil recovery, as it contains oil upto 55-60%. Coconut water may be used for the preparation of vinegar or can be bottled With 30% of the world’s imports, the European Union is the largest importer of desiccated coconuts in the world. Desiccated coconut is a traditional bakery ingredient in many European countries and more recently, the product is benefitting from the rising interest in Asian cooking. The import of desiccated coconuts in Europe is increasing with the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom as the leading importing countries.


Desiccated coconut, sometimes referred to as Coconut Powder, is a dehydrated form of white coconut meat from freshly selected mature coconut kernels. It is prepared from substantially sound white kernel obtained from the whole nut of coconut (Cocos nucifera). Desiccated coconuts have to be processed in an appropriate manner, undergoing operations such as de-husking (the removal of the husk, leaving the shell intact), hatcheting (the removal of the shell), paring (the removal of the brown skin around the kernel), washing, comminuting, drying (to humidity level below 3%) and sifting. They can be produced without oil extraction or with partial oil extraction by appropriate physical means.

Product Specification

The basic quality requirements for desiccated coconuts are:
Colour: natural white to light creamy
Texture: free-flowing and free from yellow specks
Flavour: distinctive coconut flavour without off-flavours due to deterioration or absorption of extraneous substances.
Odour: The odour shall be characteristic of the product, shall not be mouldy, cheesy, smoky, fermented or rancid, and shall not possess any undesirable odour.
Oil content: According to the oil content, desiccated coconuts are in trade practice commonly divided into 2 categories:
1. High fat Desiccated Coconut (sometimes referred as ‘full fat’) with equal or more than 60% m/m of oil. It is dehydrated form of white coconut meat from freshly selected mature kernels
2. Low fat Desiccated Coconut with less than 60% m/m of oil. It is a dehydrated form of white coconut meat after extraction of the Coconut milk. The fat content of this product can vary but is usually in the range of 45% – 55%.

The name of the product shall be “Desiccated Coconut” preceded or followed by the common or ordinary name legally accepted in the country of retail sale. The name should indicate the oil content of the product. When applicable, the name may indicate the sizing of the product.
Information for non-retail containers shall be given either on the container or in accompanying documents, except that the name of the product, lot identification, and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or importer, as well as storage instructions, shall appear on the container. However, lot identification, and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, distributor or importer may be replaced by an identification mark, provided that such a mark is clearly identifiable with the accompanying documents.


Packaging used for desiccated coconuts must protect the organoleptic and quality characteristics of the product, to protect the product from bacteriological and other contamination (including contamination from the packaging material itself) and not pass on to the product any odour, taste, colour or other foreign characteristics.

The most common types of packaging for desiccated coconuts in bulk are craft paper bags with inner sealed polythene to keep away from the atmosphere’s moisture. The most common standard bag size is 25kg but bags of 8kg, 10kg and 50kg are also used. Packed products should be stored in a clean, cool and dry place under room temperature of 26 o C or below. In normal storage conditions shell life of the products should be 12 months.

Market prices

Indication of margins according to final retail prices for desiccated coconuts is not precise and Developing Countries exporters can have only a very rough general overview of the price development. However, very roughly, it can be estimated that the CIF price represents around 25% of the retail price of a retail pack of desiccated coconuts (which is usually packed in 250 and 300 g retail sizes). The best option to monitor prices is to compare your offer with the offer from the largest competitors. The prices are also different between producing countries and desiccated coconuts from Philippines as leading world supplier usually reach higher prices when compared to other producing countries because as they are considered as premium quality product by majority of the European buyers.

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