Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2013 Contents BG6 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 2013 • WEEK FOUR
The Coconut Growers Associ-
ation (CGA) is betting that
consumers will prefer veg-
etable-based soaps over those
made with animal-based sodi-
um tallowate (tallow).
The only local large-scale manufacturer of
bath soaps, established since 1937, the CGA
is relaunching three of its brands in July, and
blowing the whistle on foreign soaps that use
tallow, which is made from offal. The CGA s
market share ambition scrapes the skies at 25
to 35 per cent. At present CGA commands
less than ten per cent.
During a June 21 interview, CGA executive
chairman Philippe Agostini said: "Tallow is
basically animal fat which is produced by ren-
dering the leftovers in the abattoirs. That s to
say it could be anything. It could be beef. It
could be pork, chicken, whatever."
He said "that is what is used to make tallow,
which used to be known as lard in the past."
Now, mainly the edible lard alone is called lard.
Up until two years ago, the CGA also put
tallow in half of its soaps, but over the past
year-and-a-half, the company has phased out
animal-based ingredients altogether, and now
boasts of being an all-vegetable operation.
Agostini said: "The main reason we went
in this direction - I mean we were halfway
there, but now we ve gone all out - is that in
T&T and the Caribbean, you have a large por-
tion of the population who are Hindus, Mus-
lims; in Trinidad, in Guyana, in Suriname;
and then also you have a lot of people who
are not quite aware what actually they are
Asked if he is the only non-tallow soap
maker in T&T, he said, "In the Caribbean,
and among what you ll see on supermarket
shelves, with the exception of Lifebuoy, which
we make for Unilever, yes, because everything
here is made vegetable-based."
Agostini said: "In a sense we took advantage
of going up that route to re-launch all our
soaps, emphasising being 100 per cent veg-
etable based, adding the coconut part, which
is our background, but I do think when people
find out about what they ve been bathing with,
they may not be very happy."
He said that outside of CGA soaps, "Gen-
erally, on the shelves here, you ll find difficulty
finding a 100 per cent vegetable-based soap."
He said CGA s soaps are made with 80 per
cent palm oil and 20 per cent coconut oil. He
said a 100 per cent coconut oil soap can only
be done in an artisan fashion. Coconut oil
moisturises, softens the skin and lathers better,
which is why the CGA puts it into its soaps.
Agostini estimated that the CGA produces
between 40 to 60 tonnes of soap per week.
About 25 per cent of that is exported. The
remaining 75 per cent is sold on the local mar-
CGA trade specialist Ricardo Maughn in the
interview said the three brands to be relaunched
are d OR, every, and Duet+. He estimates that
Colgate-Palmolive commands about 50 per
cent of the market, Unilever about 30 per
cent, CGA just under 10 per cent, and the rest
of the market is made up of other foreign
"If we could get achieve between---I mean
right now we are about ten per cent---25 to
35 per cent, I think that will be a great goal
to strive for," Maughn said.
"You see, you re dealing with multinationals,"
Their costing structures, their strategies,
and their deep pockets give them an advantage,
the CGA officials said.
Agostini said that over the years, T&T man-
ufacturers have been neglected by the pow-
ers-that-be, not realising the importance of
keeping import levels in check.
Asked if he shouldn t be trying to compete
on quality rather than volume and go after
the high end market that wants high quality
soaps, he said the CGA has plans for the luxury
category, but for now its focus is on the soaps
for the middle-class market. "That (high end)
would be venturing into unknown territory."
For the high end market, the CGA plans to
introduce virgin coconut oil and exotic
Caribbean soaps. Virgin coconut oil is a pre-
mium product like virgin olive oil and can be
consumed for its health benefits.
As for the youth market, Agostini said he
expects the relaunch to sit well with young
people. He said "the Facebook generation"
would be more amenable to CGA products.
The CGA is headquartered on the Eastern
Main Road in Laventille and employs about
170 persons, mostly from the area. Agostini
said he would like to see the agriculture indus-
try revitalise as it would produce jobs for more
The CGA boss showed the Business
Guardian a register of the coconut growers
from when agriculture, in its heyday, had about
500 coconut growers compared to today s 20.
The CGA is owned by 24 shareholders, most
of whom still grow coconuts, but the industry
is under the constant threat of praedial larceny
CGA bets consumers will
select vegetable over cow fat
A mound of copra, from
which oil is extracted for
the manufacture of
Links Archive June 26th 2013 June 28th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page