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While coconut oil has been around for hundreds of years, it’s about 12 times more expensive than canola oil.

If it’s so healthy and used widely across the world, why is it so expensive?

The short answer: Because it’s so versatile.

Over 44% of the world’s coconut oil is produced in the Philippines. In 2019 alone, 14.8 million metric tons of coconuts were harvested. Although the country is well trained in extracting the oil, the people are also well aware of the fact that it’s a very labour intensive job.

A person has to climb to the top of the tree to collect the coconut (if it hasn’t fallen down by itself) and then manually break open the coconut to remove the thick layers of husk.

Only once the husk is removed can it be cleaved in half with a bolo knife. Then, the white flesh is grated by hand and squeezed through a machine (here’s the first mention of a machine!) to get the liquid coconut cream. After that the cream is put on a shelf to ferment for 12 hours.

Surely there must be a quicker way to do all of this?

While the labour intensive part of the job is done in the Philippines, the money is made in the US and Europe. Once it arrives there, the price of the coconut oil is almost doubled as it’s then used in the manufacturing of many other products like skincare ranges, haircare ranges, and plant-based food.

Even a warning from the American Heart Institute that coconut oil can increase your cholesterol levels didn’t scare Western people off from using it towards sustaining a healthier lifestyle. The only worry at the moment is that most of the coconut trees in Asian are nearing the end of their productive cycle.

Watch the Business Insider video below for more on why coconut oil is so expensive.

Image credit: The Guardian

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