Coconut products maker expands spray-drying line in Misamis plant

MANILA — Integrated coconut manufacturer Axelum Resources Corp. has completed the expansion of the spray-drying line in its plant in Medina, Misamis Oriental, as it prepares for the growing global market for coconut-based products.

Axelum president Henry Raperoga said the PHP250-million project will increase the plant capacity from 10 metric tons (MT) of coconut milk powder per day to 20 MT per day. The doubled capacity translates to an annual capacity of 4,800 MT.

“The expansion utilizes the latest agglomeration technology in spray-drying,” Raperoga said. “Agglomeration is a process that makes the powder more dispersible or soluble when introduced to liquid.”

“The new spray-drying line will allow us to develop new products from agglomerated – or instant – coconut milk powder,” he said, adding that one such product is organic coconut milk powder.

Earlier this month, Axelum said it had closed a new order for organic coconut milk powder to be used as ingredient in a skin care
product/supplement. The initial order, which is for export, is for 170 MT, worth an estimated USD1.3 million.

Agglomerated organic coconut milk powder is a high-technology, higher-priced coconut milk variant that the company is introducing to address the pressing market demand for healthier products.

Raperoga earlier reported that coconut milk powder has one of the highest margins among Axelum’s product offerings.

“Pound-for-pound, the selling price of coconut milk powder is three to four times that of our mainline product desiccated coconut. Coconut milk powder and desiccated coconut are produced from the same raw material. Thus, the addition of this new spray-drying line enables us to shift production to higher margin products,” he said.

Raperoga shared that health-conscious consumers worldwide are willing to pay a premium for healthy products, and the company plans to capitalize on this trend, as well as continue to develop the market for coconut milk powder.

“In particular, the company is exploring the introduction and production of more gluten-free, dairy-free, and organic variants of
existing product offerings,” he added. “The expansion will permit us to actively pursue the development of these products.”

The company manufactured 2,400 MT of coconut milk power in 2018; with exports totaling 1,300 MT and the domestic market accounting for 872 MT. Coconut milk powder contributed PHP658 million to gross revenues in the same year. /PNP-