The difference is in the fat molecule. All fats and oils are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two methods of classifying fatty acids. The first you are probably familiar with, is based on saturation. You have saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Another system of classification is based on molecular size or length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. Fatty acids consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. In this system you have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconut oil is composed predominately of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
No refrigeration required. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and melts at 76 degrees, with a smoke point of 350 degrees. Please note that there is NO difference between Virgin and Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil. We previously used the term 'extra-virgin'to emphasize our commitment to quality, however, as a leader in coconut oil, Nutiva is committed to complying with global regulations that do not allow the term 'extra-virgin'in regard to coconut. When you see the term Virgin on our packaging, rest assured that the product is still the highest quality and has not changed.
Fair Trade certification, while not affecting the quality of the oil, may also be something you want to take into consideration. Remember that the cheapest products are often the result of unfair wages and treatment of those who are on the front lines of production, as well as ruthless processing approaches and environmental degradation. Supporting fair trade coconut products is a great way to become part of the solution, instead of the problem. Unfortunately, there are few Fair Trade certified coconut oil products available, but if you can find one and afford the slightly higher cost, all the better.