Continuing from our previous episode, we will be exploring yet another fascinating aspect of our BRCGS, FairTrade and Organic certified production process. This process of our coconut sugar is a constant cycle consisting of 6 main stages: selection, collection, evaporation, conversion, preparation and finally packaging.
A coconut tree’s journey from a humble fruit can take as long as a decade to reach its adult form. At this stage, a single plant can produce an average of about 14 inflorescences each year. Through careful selection of bearing trees with healthy and unopened inflorescences, the matured blossoms will be bent landwards for a week to allow nectar to flow for tapping. The tapping begins in the early hours of dawn where ambient temperature is at its lowest. The conventional practice of tapping these inflorescences for their nectar is a time-honoured
art form. Once the tree is tapped, its sap can flow for many years and is seen in a positive light from a sustainability perspective.
These trees represent an important source of income for many people in our home of Indonesia and are found mainly on multiple plots of land holdings belonging to individual coconut farmers and tappers. IMC’s close relationship with these farmers through our Internal Control System (ICS) teams, not only allows us to make a direct and positive impact on their lives with a system of fair and ethical approach at a grassroot level, but also enables us to provide improved traceability for our product. We have always regarded our farmers as IMC’s true heart and soul, which is why we hold our FairTrade certification with pride and honour. It is also a testament of the level of collaboration and extensive efforts with our esteemed farmers.
Stay tuned for upcoming episodes on our traceability process and CSR program!
Upon collection, the nectar is measured and prepared immediately to ensure it conforms to the required acidity level and freshness. Production from coconut sugar blocks can unnecessarily increase acrylamide levels (classified by the American Cancer Society as a human carcinogen) because in order to change the product’s form from block to granules, recooking the product under heat for an extended period and /or at higher temperature is required. As such, all of IMC’s organic coconut sugar is produced only directly from nectar instead of blocks.
Evaporation process begins once the nectar is filtered for any foreign particles from its natural environment and then tested. It is cooked over traditional ovens to remove any bacteria or moisture until thickened into a saturated syrup. The syrup is removed from heat and continued to be stirred until sugar granules are formed. The granulated sugar is stirred and ground further using coconut husks, resulting in finer crystals instead of settling into hardened blocks. This traditional method results in differing granules sizes which are sorted later on through sieving. As this is a handcrafted product, it requires a lot more effort and skill which is passed down through the generations.
The sugar granules are then sieved over industrial food-grade strainer to further improve particle uniformity and prevent clumping. To improve shelf life and ensure a crisp and free-flowing texture, the sugar is specially transferred onto stainless-steel trays to be further dried in our oven stations.
Finally, it is brought to our factory where sieving and packing is done using magnetic traps to ensure product purity before being weighed and sealed under the most stringent conditions audited by the leading BRCGS Food Safety standards.
With changing times and increased demands by our customers, we are committed to food safety and production sustainability through responsible and ethical approaches. Through systematic implementations of the best possible standards available, we strive to continuously provide our product with the utmost quality assurance and confidence.