We recently received an email from one of our customers, asking us if what she read in an article on a well known coconut blog site was true - that the new trend in sap products now on the market, is diminishing the health-giving benefits of coconut oil production. She really surprised us when she also mentioned that this article had gone viral!

Knowing this to be utterly untrue, we promptly did a little sleuth work to determine the origin of this article. Lo and behold, we discovered that the owner of the blog site that published the article is also the owner of Tropical Traditions, who sells primarily coconut oil, flour, shredded and creamed coconut, so the article was clearly biased in favor of his product line. We've also been aware for several years, that this person owns the URL, and have often wondered what he has up his sleeve for future products. Yet in his article he builds a convincing case against the burgeoning coconut sap/sugar industry. Curiouser and curiouser...

It is unfortunate that the coconut industry, like most rapidly growing industries, has gotten highly competitive. Keep in mind that we are talking about a part of the world that has a huge abundance of coconut trees, the majority of which are not being used for commercial purposes. As has always been the case, some are designated for sap production and others for coconut production. Tapping a coconut tree for its sap is a centuries old tradition that does NOT in any way harm the tree. It is interesting to note that coconut oil and flour sales are at an all time high worldwide (FAR EXCEEDING sap-related products.) According to the United Coconut Association of the Philippines, exports from January to July of 2010 have surpassed exports for the whole of 2009, in only 7 months! Coconut oil exports increased 129% over the same period last year.

So, based on these statistics, it is highly unlikely that already thriving coconut farms would be converting to sap production solel for economic reasons, when they are already successfully operating at full capacity. There is NO SIGN that the supply of coconut oil from the Philippines (where the Coconut Secret and Tropical Traditions products are both produced) is diminishing, nor are the exports of it declining, Clearly no one is being deprived of the oil's health-giving benefits because of sap production, as stated in the blog article. Worldwide sales of coconut oil to date, are not even close to maximizing the full potential of the coconut oil industry, because there are so many trees and still so much room for growth.

From that standpoint, it makes much more sense for farms to continue devoting their resources to coconut production, rather than converting to sap production which requires entirely different equipment and expertise. However, for those farms that are focused on the collection of sap, once a coconut tree is tapped, the sap continues to flow for over 20 years, a process that is quite sustainable and supportive of the living organism.

We very much hope to clarify some of the common myths about sap vs. oil production:

Myth: Sap production of Coconut Nectar, Crystals, Vinegar, Aminos, etc could lead to the decline of nut production to make coconut oil, flour, etc.
FACT: When coconut trees are tapped for the purpose of sap production, the tree's ability to produce coconuts for various uses is NOT LOST. Research conducted in the Philippines at the Davao Research Center during 1988-1991 showed the viability of producing both sap and coconuts in sequence in the same unopened spadices (stems) of coconut palms. This technology involves tapping fsap harvestor coconut sap in the first half of the spathe (blossoms), and allowing the remaining half to develop normally, ultimately producing fully mature 12 month-old coconuts. This research further revealed, that incorporating this innovative new method increased productivity of sap and nut yields 5-7 times higher than traditional methods.

Myth: A shortage of coconuts as raw materials is likely to create large scale economic imbalance.
FACT: Coconut oil is a major export of the Philippines, so the government does not encourage a radical shift to sap production. Less than 10% of coconut farms in the Philippines are dedicated to sap production. Also, coconut sap products are more labor intensive and costly to produce, and require special equipment.

Myth: The health-promoting properties of coconut oil are more beneficial than sap products.
FACT: The noble coconut tree (aptly referred to as "The Tree of Life") provides a full spectrum of nutrition from ALL parts of the tree. Coconut oil is a valuable source of medium chain fatty acids, however sap products offer a nutrient-rich array of amino acids, minerals, B and C vitamins, are low glycemic and have a nearly neutral pH. EVERY part is a valuable resource (sap, nut, meat, oil, water, shell, leaf, root, bark), not only for food, but also for building materials, furniture, fabric, art, etc. Absolutely nothing is wasted!
So, in essence, it's not a matter of either/or. It is healthful for people to consume BOTH coconut sap products (Nectar, Crystals, Vinegar, Aminos), as well as coconut meat products (oil, flour, shredded, etc.), asthere is ample supply of all of these commodities without compromising the production of either resource.