COCONUT OIL and crude coconut oil make up two of the top three US imports from the Philippines, according to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
The PCA said in a statement that the two products have maintained their standing among US imports over the past three years, citing estimates by the International Trade Center.
Eric C. Elnar, commissioner of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Los Angeles, said the Philippines accounts for 60% of US coconut oil imports and 73% of US crude coconut oil imports.
Mr. Elnar said coconut oil demand has risen due to changes in US trade policy, market trends, and dietary guidelines.
He said the surge in consumption follows the withdrawal of US guidance which had implicated coconut as a source of allergies.
He added that market demand for organic products and improved awareness of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle have contributed to the coconut boom.
“It is claimed that the US population has become increasingly heterogeneous; millennials now represent 30% of the population, with about 44% consisting of racial and ethnic minorities — including Filipinos, while Americans with college educations have increased by 12%. These factors resulted in a more educated consumer base with different spending patterns,” Mr. Elnar said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Elnar said the PTIC has tapped online shopping channel to address the changing market demand in the US due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, while maintaining distribution in physical stores.
He added that the PTIC also helps service the reseller market led by Filipino-Americans operating micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Mr. Elnar also cited the efforts of the Trade Department’s Export Marketing Bureau and its partner eCFULFILL to enlist more MSMEs into the global e-commerce platform.
The target is to get 100 exporters signed up for the program. The current enlistment level is 76, Mr. Elnar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave