Davao-based company produces natural sweetener from coco shell

Subscribe Now June 27, 2011 at 09:52am

THE Philippines will soon export a natural sweetener out of coconut shells, a first in the whole world. Months after becoming operational, the CJ Toyota Tsusho Philippines Inc. situated at Darong village, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur may produce 15,000 metric tons (MT) of xylose this year, not too far from Denmark's Danisco A/S, which produces 25,000 MT.

For 2011, the two-year-old company plans to bring the sweetener to the lucrative markets of Japan, Korea, and European Union.

The innovation of extracting xylose to produce xylitol from the coconut shell is a Korean technology where the shells undergo extraction in high concentration, high temperature and high pressure.
Xylose or commonly known as wood sugar is a natural carbon sugar obtained from the xylan-rich portion of hemicelluloses, which is present in plant cell walls and fiber of coconut shells.

Aside from coconut shells, it can also be found in berries, spinach, broccoli, pears and corncobs.

Xylose is safe for food use, toxin-free, antibacterial, and antifungal. It helps fight infections, restores hormonal imbalances, has zero calorie content, and contains healing agents.

Its by-product xylitol is known as one of the major functional sweeteners used for gum and toothpaste production since it is good for anti-cavity protection.


CJ Inc., however, admitted that it has faced a dilemma on where to source out raw materials in producing xylose due to its high and increasing demand on the world market.

At present, the company buys coconut shells amounting to P4-P5 per kilo with moisture content of 16-19 percent.

However, CJ feels the scarcity of coconut shells as raw material for the production of xylose.

In the Philippines, coconut shells are commonly used in producing charcoals. Aside from that, these were the most saleable household products and fashion accessories that can be turned into lucrative, wide-selling cottage industries.

On the other hand, the company noticed that most Filipinos don’t pay much importance to coconut shells. These were often thrown and dump after farmers remove the coconut meat and made into copra.

Copra production is expected to reach 2.97 million MT this year, around 10 percent higher than 2.7 million MT actually produced in 2010.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said he is now looking into the concerns, especially in sourcing out coconut shells for raw material in producing more xylose.

He also encouraged the company to produce other products which can be made out of their wastes from the production of xylose such as converting their molasses into complete fertilizer to increase yield of coconut trees.

According to Secretary Alcala, complete fertilizer composed of waste activated carbons can contribute 15 – 20 percent additional yield.

He said that through this, the problem on sourcing raw materials can somehow be addressed.

The department also pledged to promote the product and inform the DA’s stakeholders and clientele’s, especially in the coconut sector about the existence of the corporation and the processing plant.

The company is the brainchild of three firms namely: Toyota Tsusho Corp., a trading unit of Japan's Toyota Group; South Korea's food and beverage producer Binggrae Co.; and the Anflo Management and Investment Corp. (ANFLOCOR) of Filipino businessman Antonio Floirendo Sr.

CJ Inc. mulled of doubling its production capacity by 2013, and is aiming to post $27.7 million (P1.19 billion) in sales this year and more than P4 billion in sales in 2013.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

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