Production Process of Coconut Flour and Virgin Coconut Oil Part 1

Coconut flour refers to the screened food-grade product obtained after drying, expelling and/or extracting most of the oil or milk from sound coconut meat. The meat is either pared or unpared. It is sub-classified according to its fat content (low, medium and high), protein content (high protein) and fiber content (high fiber).

Another co-product is Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) which is the natural oil obtained from fresh, mature kernel of the coconut by mechanical extraction.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing of virgin coconut oil and flour involves two processing methods either by the:

1) Dry process which involves drying of grinded coconut meat, oil extraction and pulverizing the meal. The process produces a high protein coconut flour (33%) which can be used as wheat substitute.

The advantages of the this process is the high oil recovery at 88% based on the oil content of the meat (65%) or 58% of the dried granulated meat and good quality of the oil with a free fatty acid content of 0.1%. The dry process also produces high protein flour which can be used in making pan de sal and other baked products.

2) Wet process wherein the meat is extracted with milk, drying of the residue and grinding to produce the flour.

In the wet process, almost 52% of the available oil in the fresh meat is recovered. To optimize the oil extraction efficiency of the wet process PCA developed a technology to further extract the oil from the meal after milk extraction. The meal or residue that remains still contains a lot of oil – 35-48% fat content in which 38% colorless oil is recovered and 40% coco flour is obtained as a by-product.

Instead of selling the residue as feeds this can be further processed to produce two high-value products, VCO and flour. The coconut flour is high in fiber content – 60% dietary fiber which can be used as a functional ingredient in the lowering of glycemic index and serum cholesterol levels.

The technology is applicable at small to medium scale level (5,000-10,000 nuts/day). The chart below summarizes the production flow of the coconut flour and VCO.

The equipment used are locally available and the main equipment for defatting coconut meat can be used for both fresh meat and residue for coco oil and flour production. However, some adjustments are needed in the operating parameters to meet the required quality of the products.

The economic viability of these processes is enhanced by the fact that two high value products are produced from a single raw material, namely, virgin oil and coconut flour. The high quality natural colorless oil can be used as a base oil in aromatheraphy products and as food supplement to provide instant energy to the body.

The technology on coconut flour and virgin coconut oil production from coconut residue was developed by PCA and the inventors Dina Masa and Divina Bawalan which bagged Second Prize, Creative Research Category during the National Inventors Week in 1998. SODACO Agricultural Corporation commercialized the technology through a technology transfer agreement (non-exclusive) with PCA.

Quality characteristics of VCO produced from the PCA developed process:

  • Moisture content: 0.08-0.13 %
  • Free fatty acids (as lauric acid): 0.01-0.09 %Color Colorless
  • Peroxide value: 0-2.0 meq/kg oil

The shelf-life of the oil is more than one year.
The summary of the two processing options are shown in the following table:

Processing Options Product Characteristics Yield/Recovery Process Requirement
a. Fresh-dry Process
  • Cream or Light brown coco flour, high-protein, high or low fat; natural white oil
  • Taste range from pronounced coconut flavor to bland taste depending on fat content
  • 58% oil
  • 33% flour of dried residue
  • Fresh coco meat with or without paring
b. Wet-dry process
(patent pending)
  • Cream colored, high-fiber, low fat; natural white oil, coco milk
  • Less coconut flavor due to reduce fat content
  • 17% oil
  • 26% flour of dried residue
  • Fresh residue after coco milk extraction

Classification of Coconut Flour

  1. Whole full fat coconut flour: Coconut flour prepared from unpared dehydrated and edible coconut kernels by pre-pressing and solvent extraction.
  2. Coconut flour from pared: Coconut flour prepared from pared, coconut dehydrated and edible coconut kernel.
  3. Defatted coconut flour/Food: Coconut flour obtained from food-grade grade copra meal or copra that has been defatted by solvent/mechanical extraction. The resulting flour is brownish in color. Sub-classification:
    • a. low fat Coconut flour with 10-15% fat
    • b. medium fat Coconut flour with 16-25% fat
    • c. high fat Coconut flour with 25-48% fat
  4. Low-fat, high-fiber coconut: Coconut flour from finely ground coconut flour residue “sapal”. The fat content of the resulting flour range from 10-15% and has a total dietary fiber content of more than 60%.
  5. High-protein, high-fiber: Coconut flour prepared from dehydrated finely ground coconut meat.
  6. Paring flour: Coconut flour prepared from the paring or the testa of the coconut.
  7. Copra meal: Coconut meat obtained after extracting oil for granulated copra.

Proximate Composition of Coconut Flour

From
Fresh-Dry Process
(Peter Paul Coconut Flour)
From
Wet-dry Process
(SODACO Coconut
Flour)
  • Moisture
  • Fat
  • Crude Fiber
  • Protein
  • Ash
  • Carbohydrates
  • 4.5
  • 10.7
  • 40 (as dietary fiber)
  • 17.5
  • 5.5
  • 61.8
  • 6.7
  • 10.9
  • 60.9 (as dietary fiber)
  • 10.8
  • 3.16
  • 68.5

Properties of Coconut Flour

  1. Coconut flour has a cream color and is less whiter than all-purpose flour.
  2. Slightly nutty odor. It has less coconut flavor (almost bland taste) due to reduced fat content.
  3. Coconut flour and Australian oat are bulkier and will occupy more space per unit volume than banana, all-purpose, hi-maize, Vitacel, and Quaker oat flours.
  4. Coconut flour has a shelf-life of six months at room temperature Polyethylene plus kraft/chipboard/foil (metallized) and polyenthylene alone are suitable packaging materials.
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