Strategies On How To Make Coconut Oil Stay Liquid in The Industrial Processes


Researchers estimate the coconut oil market will reach $7.4 million by 2030. It is an essential ingredient in beauty products like hair treatments and skin creams. It’s also a valuable ingredient for home chefs and industrial food processors. 

Coconut oil comes from the coconut tree’s mature fruits and is a rich source of fatty acids. Because of the fatty acids, coconut oil tends to solidify at room temperature. This trait can become a problem in industrial applications where the oil must remain liquid. Keeping coconut oil liquid is crucial for commercial production.

The Coconut Oil Production Process

The white meat of the fresh coconut fruit contains around 30% to 40% oil and 50% water. Coconuts can be fresh or dried for up to 22 months. The dried meat is called copra. Copra contains only 4% to 5% moisture and 63% to 70% oil.

Producers use screw presses to extract the oil. They may grind and boil it in water, then extract the oil. The coconut oil from copra is more concentrated and contains lauric acid, an essential ingredient in soaps and cosmetics. Virgin coconut oil comes from the first press, with no solvents or heat used in the extraction. Virgin coconut oil preserves the natural goodness of the coconut milk. Conversely, regular coconut oil from copra requires more refining, bleaching, and decolorization to make it suitable for consumption. It loses some of the beneficial medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid.

How To Monitor the Quality of The Oil Throughout The Production Process

These are the steps to monitor the quality of the oil:

  1. Sampling: Take representative samples from different stages of the production process, including raw materials, intermediate products, and final products.
  2. Visual Inspection: Examine the oil visually for any signs of contamination, discoloration, or impurities. Look for any abnormalities in color, texture, or clarity.
  3. Smell Test: Assess the odor of the oil to ensure it is fresh and free from any rancid or off-putting smells. Any foul or unusual smell may indicate spoilage or contamination.
  4. Moisture Content Analysis: Determine the moisture content of the oil using a specialized moisture analyzer. High moisture levels can lead to microbial growth and spoilage.
  5. Acidity Testing: Measure the acidity of the oil to check for the presence of free fatty acids. Excessive acidity indicates poor quality or deterioration.
  6. Peroxide Value Analysis: Evaluate the oil’s peroxide value to assess its oxidative stability. High peroxide values suggest the oil is prone to becoming rancid.
  7. Impurity Analysis: Conduct tests to detect impurities such as foreign particles, metals, or other contaminants that may have entered the oil during production.
  8. Fatty Acid Profile Analysis: Analyze the fatty acid composition of the oil to ensure it meets the desired nutritional profile and quality standards.
  9. Sensory Evaluation: For edible oil, conduct sensory tests involving trained panelists to assess the oil’s taste, flavor, and overall sensory attributes. 
  10. Microbiological Testing: Perform microbiological analysis to detect the presence of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and mold. This step ensures the oil is safe for consumption.
  11. Packaging Integrity Check: Inspect the packaging materials and seals to ensure they are intact and free from leaks, which can compromise the quality and safety of the oil.
  12. Record Keeping: Maintain detailed records of all the quality control tests performed, including the results obtained, to track the quality of the oil throughout the production process.

These are some of the steps that will ensure coconut oil meets the required standards and is safe for consumption. Implementing effective testing, filtration, and storage systems is essential to producing high-quality coconut oil.

An Effective Filtration System to Remove Any Impurities from The Oil

After extraction, the oil filter press removes impurities from coconut oil. It helps filter out unwanted components, and unattractive colors, minimize water content, and reduce levels of free fatty acids and peroxide. 

The filter must meet FDA standards for food-grade oil, such as tri-clamp fittings instead of threaded plumbing and gasketed filter press plates, to prevent leaks and outside contaminants from entering the filter press.

Understanding Coconut Oil’s Melting Point

The melting point of an oil refers to the temperature at which it changes from a solid to a liquid. Solid coconut oil melts at 75-77°F (24-25°C). At cooler room temperatures, coconut oil begins to solidify.

Why Coconut Oil Turns Solid

We have mentioned some of the following information above. Coconut oil is mostly a fatty acid. It is about 90% saturated fat and 10% unsaturated fat. Saturated fatty acid compounds contain long hydrocarbon chains with stronger bonds than unsaturated fats, which solidify at lower temperatures. Heating releases the hydrogen’s molecular bonds. The saturated fats remain liquid by keeping coconut oil above its melting point temperature.

Does Coconut Oil Stay Liquid After Melting

No, coconut oil does not stay liquid after melting. Keep coconut oil above its melting point (75-77°F) to maintain it in a liquid state. Therefore, it is necessary to heat coconut oil using warm water or other low-heat methods.

Solutions to Keeping Coconut Oil Liquid

The obvious solution to keep coconut oil liquid is by maintaining it at a temperature above its melting point. Besides keeping coconut oil above its melting point, there are a few other ways to keep it liquid:

  1. Coconut blankets: The most efficient way to keep coconut oil liquid is to heat the container directly with coconut blankets. Coconut blankets wrap around the bucket or IBC tote and provide consistent heat to the oil inside. 
  2. Use warm water: The warm water method works for home or small-scale applications. In an industrial setting, immersion heaters provide heat and circulate large volumes of water.
  3. Add another oil: Mixing coconut oil with low-saturated fat oil that remains liquid at lower temperatures can help prevent solidification. Some examples include olive oil, almond oil, or MCT oil.
  4. Store in a warm area: Keeping coconut oil in a warmer location can prevent it from solidifying. The area must remain above 77°F (25°C).

These are the four methods of keeping the coconut oil liquid. The advantage of coconut blankets is that they only heat the container, which saves energy. The adjustable temperature ensures the oil stays liquid under various ambient temperatures.

Techniques to Keep Coconut Oil Liquid in Industrial Processes

Manufacturers employ several methods to keep coconut oil liquid. These include temperature control, blending with other oils, and using refined coconut oil.

  • Temperature control involves maintaining the storage and processing environments at a temperature above the oil’s melting point.
  • Blending coconut oil with other oils, like olive oil, can lower the overall melting point, allowing the oil to stay liquid even at cooler temperatures. However, it alters the flavor if it’s a consumable product.
  • Refining coconut oil decreases the melting point lower than virgin coconut oil. Refining removes impurities, fatty acids and helps maintain the oil in a liquid state longer.

Viscosity control is essential for production lines requiring a steady flow of coconut oil. 

The Impact of Olive Oil on Coconut Oil’s Consistency

As mentioned, blending coconut oil with other oils can help keep it liquid at lower ambient temperatures. Olive oil is a popular blending oil. It significantly impacts coconut oil’s consistency due to its lower melting point and higher content of unsaturated fats. For cooking products, olive oil doesn’t significantly alter the flavor or aroma of coconut oil.

When blended with coconut oil, olive oil disrupts the crystalline structure formed by the saturated fatty acids in the coconut oil. Disrupting the molecular structure reduces the melting point, allowing the coconut oil to remain liquid at cooler temperatures.

Which Stays Liquid Longer, Refined Coconut Oil or Virgin Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil’s properties vary depending on the extraction process, affecting its ability to remain liquid. Refined coconut oil undergoes a process that removes impurities and lowers its melting point. As a result, it stays liquid longer, even at room temperature.

On the other hand, virgin coconut oil retains most of its fatty acids and has a distinct, robust flavor but has a higher melting point. Therefore, it tends to solidify quicker.

For industries needing to keep coconut oil liquid, refined coconut oil is more suitable. However, refining can affect the oil’s nutritional content and flavor.

Control Coconut Oil’s Storage and Transportation Environment

Maintaining coconut oil in a liquid state requires careful consideration of the storage conditions. Here are a few storage and transportation tips:

  • The coconut oil container should be above the oil’s melting point.
  • Seal the container tightly to prevent exposure to air and moisture, which can affect the oil’s quality and shelf life.
  • If blending with other oils, stir the mixture regularly to ensure a uniform consistency to keep it liquid and prevent separation.
  • Use a thermal coconut blanket for storage and transportation in cold or extremely hot areas.

Additionally, prevent heat loss with coconut blankets. They also insulate the containers to minimize temperature fluctuations. 

Using Honey and Other Emulsifiers With Coconut Oil

Sometimes manufacturers need coconut oil at a higher viscosity, but not solid. They add emulsifiers to thicken the oil to a specific consistency. Emulsifiers can be soy lecithin, honey, citric acid, sucrose, or other commercial emulsifiers. The ingredient depends on whether it’s for food or external use.

Honey also has the same challenges as coconut oil, requiring a consistently warm temperature for pouring and handling. Bee blankets keep honey stores warm and ready for production. If you are a manufacturer facing issues with crystalized honey in your process, go to our blog, How to soften honey.

Innovative Solutions for Keeping Coconut Oil Liquid in Industrial Processes

Heating blankets are an effective solution for keeping coconut oil liquid. These blankets provide consistent heat, ensuring the oil stays above its melting point. They are easy to use, energy-efficient, and can be custom-designed to fit any coconut oil container size. Keeping coconut oil in a liquid state is a necessity for various industries. Liquid coconut oil is easier to work with and more versatile for industrial applications.

In the food industry, liquid coconut oil can be used in cooking and baking, as it mixes well with other ingredients. In the beauty industry, liquid coconut oil is ideal for creating skincare and haircare products because it applies smoothly, absorbs quickly, and has a pleasant aroma. 

Temperature control when working with coconut oil is key; take a look at our game-changing Coconut Blankets.


James Rogers

James is our digital marketing expert who has worked in the marketing field for over 15 years. When not writing blog posts or newsletters, James is geeking out over all things SEO and SEM. He is a husband and a father of four. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, hiking, and hanging out with his family.

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