Local traditional production of sugar from sugar palm has changed little over time. The challenge has been to protect natural habitat and still be able to scale production to provide resources for local villages with little other means to enjoy commerce.
Sugar Palm is not to be confused with the highly destructive Oil Palm. Sugar Palms only grow in a diverse forest, in which many other animal and plant species live
The sugar palm has several unique features that make it the champion of the forest. A few years after the tree is planted a daily amount of juice can be tapped from the tree, by cutting a thin slice off a branch. The tree then releases large quantities of juice (mature trees produce 20-30 litres a day, some even more than 50) with a sugar concentration of about 11%. However before it will start producing the valuable sap the tree has to go through a preparation which involves lengthily 'knocking' the tree trunk. The producing tree thus converts sunlight, rainwater and CO2 into sugar-sap which can be processed into many different products, mainly through special techniques developed by Willie. Several examples of these products are bio-ethanol, (very healthy) palm sugar and bio-plastics. All in all, this one tree can deliver over 60 different kinds of products, ranging from bio fuel and sugar to extremely strong fibres used for roofing, medicine and a good quality of wood (after its life cycle had ended).
The amount of energy produced by a sugar palm beats that of all other crops (e.g. it provides over three times more energy than sugar cane). Part of this output lies in the ingenious leaf structure, making it very efficient in capturing sunlight. In addition, the process of photosynthesis is much more efficient than that of other crops, and is taking place during a longer time period per day. The Sugar Palm on balance does not remove nutrients from the soil the way other plants do, and to harvest the energy, no fruits or branches have to be cut off. Once planted, the tree may be harvested throughout the year. Furthermore, the palm will grow on various poor soil types and up against steep slopes which cannot be used as farmland. Due to its deep root system, it also provides excellent protection against soil erosion, and it is fire- and flood resistant. Because it grows only in a diverse forest it contributes to preserving biodiversity.
This sugar sweetener is harvested from palm (coconut) nectar. This palm sugar market currently exists in North America and the market by food industry standards, is very small compared to the more mainstream sugars from corn, cane or beet. Palm Sugar products in SE Asia are considered a regional product due to cultural demand based on centuries of indigenous production and consumption. All palm sugar products currently commercially available use stabilizers during harvesting that are retained in the final product. These preservatives are either restricted by FDA guidelines and are problematic for direct to consumer usage and for use in industrial commercial food applications, or substantially impact taste and characteristics of the final product. We have developed proprietary harvesting techniques incorporating trade secret fully organic preservatives based on our intellectual property, and via additional intellectual property has developed methods of preparation of the harvested palm fluid that result in a “cleaner” pure product with retained nutritional components. These attributes make this product highly attractive to industrial manufactures as an ingredient component for use, contemporizing traditional techniques, and attractive to consumers concerned regarding quality.
← Arenga Palm Sugar blocks after processing (left)