Start Here Oct 2010

You’ve arrived at the Coconut Oil Shop site in New Zealand. Now what?

So you’ve arrived at the site, and perhaps read the home page.  Now you’re here you are probably wondering where to start with this coconut oil website? This site has grown and grown, and grown. It now has quite a few items, and you might wonder where to start. So let us explain a few things on this page to help you get the most out of your stay at New Zealand’s leading multi-brand coconut oil online shop site.

Once upon a time, there was only one product sold here at the site. Then, because of customer demand, we added a second, and then that supplier went out of stock for a few months… and that is why we started the online shop in the first place. We wanted to provide a constant supply of coconut oil, especially in bulk sizes, delivered free.

We’ve added product types and brands along the way as customers asked, and suppliers developed new options. Now there is a wide range of options, so you may benefit from an overview of what we’ve got, and why we have the options we do. In fact, we’ll even let you in on a few secrets about what makes us tick, along the way.

Two categories of products, and three brands

The two categories of products are:

  • Coconut oil products – virgin, raw, cold pressed and organic coconut oil products.
  • Other coconut products – creamed coconut, coconut flour. We’re also introduced books on coconut oil – another one is coming soon.

The three brands are:

  • Chantal (formerly Kaiora)
  • Zenian
  • Ceres

Now you will know what products we’re referring to here at the site. So let’s turn our attention to what is driving product development – which products you can buy and how they are packaged. You’ll discover how we came to value three Ps in our product offering.

The three Ps of the Coconut Oil Shop products

When we started buying coconut oil in the early 2000’s, it was quite hard to get the good oil in anything but small sizes. When I say small, I mean sizes like 200mls and 400mls, sometimes you could get a 700mls jar. A little jar doesn’t go very far with a big family. So we set off to find larger packaging!

One supplier sent us their oil in a big 20 litre bottle container with a handle. You know the kind? With a handle and a very small bottle opening. For one thing it was very heavy and awkward for us, as coconut oil is usually solid where we live. So we’d have to sit the 20 litre container in the sun for a few hours at a time so that we could pour the oil out to use in the kitchen.

So then we had two product packaging choices! Tiny jars or huge plastic container with a small opening? No, we had to find something in between.

Packaging is one of the big areas of change in the coconut oil market

All our oil and creamed coconut products are packaged with a decent sized lid. We like to be able to place a tea spoon, knife, fork, or spoon down the hole to get solid oil out. With solid oil this is the easiest method of handling the oil. If you live in an area where the oil is constantly or frequently fluid, you can pour it out. If you live in an area, or store it in an area that is lower than around 24 degrees Celsius, you’ll find your oil is often partially or totally solid, and bright white. If it is gray or dark under the surface, that is fine too, some oils do that.

Our oils come in a wide variety of sizes, as you can see on the Order Coconut Oil page. Although we specialise in bulk sizes for everyday use, we know a lot of our buyers are first timers, and so we have sample sizes as well as bulk sizes.

At the Coconut Oil Shop we have two price and packaging principles. Our two principles are:

  • Serve the whole spectrum of sizes if at all possible
  • Price for volume where possible

Those two principles brings us to the second big consideration for newbies and experienced, discerning buyers alike – pricing.

What to look out for in our pricing

Packaging has to walk hand in hand with pricing. We’d dearly love to make coconut oil more affordable but we’re constrainded by what is on offer and so we’ve developed a pricing guideline to help you get the most of the products on offer in New Zealand. Let me tell you how it all works, and how we’re working to make life easier for you.

Ever bought a bulk package at the supermarket to later discover it was cheaper to buy it in smaller packaging? This happens a lot, particularly with canned goods. But at our site, we aim to make larger orders more economical when you compare like for like, within the same brand and supplier. For example, when you compare a 1Litre size of Zenian black label oil, with a 2Litre size of the same Zenian black label oil, the 2 Litre price is not twice the 1 Litre price. This what you like, and expect, and so that is what we aim for.

Postage is a big part of lives. Why? Because we live in a rural delivery zone.  We hate being penalised for living in what might be called paradise on earth! So you won’t be either. If you live in Central Auckland, Mersey St in Invercargil, Tokoroa, Kelvin Heights in Queenstown District or Wellington Road, RD 1 Marton, you’ll pay the same price.

How we look out for you

We look out for you in terms of postage in another way too. If you accidently buy 2 x 500mls glass jars – twice, instead of 4 x 500mls glass jars – once , bought as 2Litres; we’ll arrange a refund, because you have just spend too much money. (The only difference is the cardboard box if it is going to the same address).

So in our tour of what is on offer at this site, and what makes us tick, you’ve seen that packaging, pricing and postage are as important to us as they are to you. You’ve noted that we aim to abide by three principles.

1) Serve the whole spectrum of sizes if at all possible

2) Price for volume where possible

3) Price regardless of locality

In summary, so far we’ve looked at packaging, pricing and postage. Let’s move on now to the 4th of the Ps, and it is processing. Depending on who introduced you to the world of coconuts and their use in New Zealand, you’ll put more emphasise on one of those 4 Ps than another. But this area of processing is really the heart of the matter – no pun intended, of course.

Why people buy coconut oil products based on their processing

When we talk about processing, it is referring to the way the oil is extracted, the coconut flesh – white stuff inside, and what is done with it once the flesh and oil is out of the nut.

Processing for oil is different to extracting other products from the white flesh of the coconut. Before we briefly explain about the different ways of processing coconuts for oil, I’d like to point out the way a coconut is chosen for processing.

One coconut can only be used for one purpose.
You don’t get a coconut, extract some oil, then make some creamed coconut, then grind off some flour. The nut is picked based on the end product being extracted. For example, only mature coconuts are chosen for creamed coconut (coconut concentrate).

Coconut Flour is also made from grinding coconut flesh. Now we’ve looked at way nuts are selected, based on the intended processing, either creamed coconut or flour. Now let’s look at what is different when oil is being extracted.

Processing Coconut oil

We’ve heard that originally coconuts grew in South India only, and that the various varieties have all come from that area. The story has it that seeds were spread over the water, and started to grow in other areas wherever the water went. There are short coconut palm trees and tall ones. There are also, understandably, different ways of extracting the oil. The old way was to scrape out the shell, and leave it to dry in the sun. the flesh left in the sun is copra. We don’t supply oil extracted from copra.

Brands we offer do different things, but all have one factor in common

Ceres Organic oil, Philippines Zenian Organic oil, Thailand Zenian Organic oil, and Chantal Organic oil all have slightly different processing. Yes that is 4 different processing methods. They all follow a “cold process”. A “hot process” is where they use extreme heat, or even chemicals to extract the oil from the nut. We don’t sell anything that does not fit the description of “cold pressed, virgin, unrefined, organic coconut oil.

There are essentially 3 ways to process cold process virgin coconut oil. Last year we would have said that there were two ways to process coconut oil. 1) cold process, and 2) refined process. But now we know a little bit more. Now we know there is another way to process oil. Let me explain it some more.

Some brands of virgin coconut oil, such as Zenian Organic Black Label from Thailand choose young coconuts only. Other brands such as Ceres have a traditional cold pressed method of extraction, and Zenian green label Virgin Coconut Oil glass jars from the Philippines use centrifuge process. Lastly, Chantal use direct micro expelling method. So that is quick run down on the way we have chosen our products, and why we do what we do. There remains one last thing to address. The final question is, “What do you do when your favourite brand runs out of supply?”

The above statement is true, but it fails to recognise the other way of cold processing virgin coconut oil. The other way to process virgin coconut oil, without using a refining chemical extration, or excessive heat is fermentation.

Zenian have brought out a range of fermented coconut oils. The oil comes in both lightly fermented, yellow label Extra Light Virgin Coconut Oil (Centrifuged Process) and red label Raw Virgin Coconut Oil (Fully Fermented) range. And yes, this is the 3rd and 4th range of oils from Zenian.

What happens when we run out of a particular brand?

Some brands run out more often than others. Chantal seems to spend more time out of stock than in stock, and it has a loyal following. It has also been around for a long time, and the supply of the oil itself has changed over time. It is currently also from the Philippines.

We aim to always have oil in stock for sale. When we don’t have it in stock, we offer a pre-order facility. We also have a waiting list email service. At the time of writing we have been waiting and waiting for Chantal oil to float it’s way down from the Philippines. It seems that the boat has been delayed, perhaps it added some extra stops on it’s way. Who knows? All we can do is take the list of the people who are waiting, and keep them informed about what is happening.

What are the advantages of being on a waiting list?

The waiting list is where you get to hear of progress about the brand you want to purchase, and when it is likely to be in stock again. The price of coconut oil is on the rise globally, as the commodity becomes more popular, the price rises. On the waiting list, you hear about the pre-order link. This is where you can save money.

When we hear that Chantal brand, for example, is “on the water’ and on it’s way to New Zealand, we set up the waiting list. Then at some stage we will put up a pre-order link, at the existing price. So with the price rising, this provides you with a discount on the new price. Those that were put on the list will be given a period of time when they can buy at the old price. Then when we are surer of the new price, we update the pre-order link, and those that didn’t get in early pay the new price.

We do the same for other products and brands as well.

The advantage of buying using a pre-order link

When you buy using a pre-order link, sometimes you’re getting the order at a lower price than the new price. You certainly make sure that you get the oil, and that we don’t run out before you even order. But with every advantage there may be disadvantages. With a pre-order link, you pay in advance, and we don’t provide a set date for delivery to you.

In the future, we may also provide some bonuses to go with a pre-order, to reward those who are parting with their hard-earned cash early. But even without a bonus, you can still take advantage of our 90 Day Taste and Smell Guarantee.

Now we’re near the tour guide commentary

In summary we explained to you why we started this site, how it developed, and what type of products we sell.  They are:

  • Oil
  • Creamed coconut
  • Coconut Flour
  • Books – about how to use coconut oil and coconut flour

We also told you about our 2 price and packaging principles, which are delivered through our 3 Ps – the philosophy behind our customer care, product selection and choice of delivery methods. They were:

  • Pricing, including free postage
  • Packaging
  • Processing

Then we told you about the 2 processing methods. They are:

  • Unrefeined, virgin, cold processing
  • Refined, chemically processed and or extraction with excessive heat

We also told you that within the realm of virgin cold processing of coconut oil, there further distinctions. The two main cold process oil processing methods we promote are:

  • Not fermented
  • Fermented – including lightly fermented

Now we hope you’re well and truly chaffing at the bit to have a look at the rest of the site. The next place to look is the product page. We call it the Order Coconut Oil page.

So take the hint and continue your visit here at the site by clicking on the red button below.

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