Types of Coconut Oil & Price $$$

Posted on 22 July 2012

As a lot of people are starting to become aware of the health benefits of Coconut oil, or have changed their diet to Paleo, Vegetarian or Vegan the retail market has responded to this demand and as such has started to bring out more and more brands of Coconut Oil (to obviously make some extra $$$). We would like to put our 2 cents worth in so you can make an informed decision.

Basically, you get what you Pay $$$ for.

There are 2 types of Coconut Oils on the Market and they differ A LOT in PRICE $$$. This is due to the PROCESS by which they are made and the quality of HEALTH benefits they possess.

  1. Refined, Bleached and Deodorised (RBD) Oil: RBD oil, as the name implies, has undergone extensive refining, bleaching and deodorising. Unlike virgin coconut oil, RBD oil is made from copra. Copra is dried whole coconut. The quality of the coconut used to make copra varies. Fresh and old, damaged and undamaged nuts alike are used. Coconuts are cracked open and the meat is dried, usually by the sun, although ovens may be used. Open coconuts are left in the sun exposed to the elements for days and even weeks before they are processed further.

(If you did not catch that last bit about the types of coconuts being used and how they are being exposed to the elements for days and weeks before they are processed we will paint a pretty picture of what it really means.... Imagine old, damaged coconuts sitting out with animal and insect poo, mould and bacteria all over them) Hence, why the copra has to undergo extensive refining, bleaching and deodorising! If you are choosing to buy Coconut Oil to be healthy think carefully before choosing a RBD Oil which has been subjected to lots of nasty CHEMICALS. The consequence of this chemical process also means that the coconut oil no longer has its original colour, taste or smell. It will most likely be labelled as refined coconut oil, but sometimes it's tricky to tell.

So basically if you come across coconut oil which is CHEAP with No TASTE or SMELL and FULL of CHEMICALS it is RBD Oil. Of course, the stores won't market it as RBD oil and won't tell you that it is full of chemicals, so you will need to do some homework to find out what oil you are actually buying. Usually RBD oil is found in Asian grocery stores and now more recently, your supermarket giants. Be careful because we only saw yesterday at the Sustain Organic Expo that Spiral Foods are marketing a Virgin Coconut Oil, but it didn't take long for us to realise this was RBD oil. How did we tell? The colour, the price and we asked the sales rep what does the "virgin" on the label mean, to which they explained that "it has gone through a refining process and has had the flavour and smell removed from the oil? – Yep, doesn't sound like a "Virgin" Oil to us! So basically, you can't even trust the marketing and packaging of the brand until you really do your research! So, BUYER BE AWARE!

  1. Virgin Coconut Oil (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil - unrefined): The term 'virgin' is used to signify that the oil is PURE and UNADULTERATED, essentially the way NATURE made it, with as LITTLE PROCESSING as possible. Most brands in Australia are marketing Virgin Oil as Extra Virgin Coconut Oil so the public can relate it to the same healthy cold pressing benefits like Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Also look out for the words "unrefined", which means it should be the good stuff.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is extracted from fresh coconuts. To avoid contamination or poor quality, only the highest quality and freshest coconuts are used. Generally little or no heat is involved and absolutely NO CHEMICALS are used. The oil is as close as possible to the way NATURE made it with ALL its NUTRIENTS intact. As a consequence, virgin coconut oil maintains a mild coconut aroma and flavour. Since the oil is extracted from the white (colourless) meat of the coconut, good quality virgin coconut oil will be colourless (i.e. pure white when solid and crystal clear when liquid). This is considered the highest quality and healthiest form of coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil that has been heated to excessive temperatures, as some are, will have a slight yellow appearance and perhaps a stronger flavour. (Any discoloration is a sign of contamination or excessive heating during processing. Contamination can be from mould or smoke residue)

...Just be aware though, RBD oils can also look pure white due to the bleaching processing involved. So just because coconut oil is white does not mean it is Virgin.

Now another important point to note is that since Virgin Coconut Oil has gone through minimal processing, it retains most of the phytonutrients that are naturally found in the raw unprocessed coconut oil.This includes ANTIOXIDANTS and phytosterols which are known to have HEART PROTECTIVE, ANTICANCER and other HEALTH PROMOTING PROPERTIES. (These phytonutrients have been stripped from RBD coconut oil during processing!).

We understand that everyone has a different lifestyle and budget. RBD oil is CHEAPER due to its chemical processing involved and produces a much higher yield. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is generally more expensive since it is PURE and has NO CHEMICALS ADDED. Furthermore, if a product has a Certified Organic Seal it will also be more expensive due to the certification Number and process the company has to pay for to be certified officially.

Here are some examples of Certified Organic Seals which you should look out for if you want to buy organic:

We hope that this entry has given you a deeper understanding of how to choose the right Coconut Oil for you and your family.

To Great Health!

Elizabeth & Dominic

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Comments (1)

Steve·15 February 2016 - 04:29pmThanks, very useful information. I bought a jar of Spiral Foods coconut oil from Woolworths. It said organic, virgin and expeller pressed, so looked like a good option. Then after using it for a while we noticed there was no smell and a red flag went up.I'd heard of RBD oil before, so I checked this website and now I know. Will be more careful next time.

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