Lemon oil from all corners of the world is one of Ultra’s core products and is obtained by cold expression or steam distillation of lemon peel.
Lemon has a place in many culinary uses from soft drinks and cocktails to marmalade. However, it can also be used and found in household cleaning products since it can disinfect, deodorise, remove grease and dissolve wax and grime to name but a few uses.
Lemon is also used in aromatherapy to enhance moods and can be used for its anti-bacterial properties in other medicinal applications. In fragrances it gives a fresh uplifting and zesty note to any perfume as it is highly volatile.
Interestingly the three top producers of fresh lemons in the world are not the countries we would associate with oil production; the top 3 being China, India and Mexico, which account for over 40% of the world production.
Today we associate lemon oil production with Italy and Spain (Europe), Argentina and USA (Americas) and even South Africa.
Over the past 40 years Argentina's processed lemon volumes have increased significantly decade on decade, from an average annual volume of 80,000 MT in the 1970s, to 200,000 MT in the 1980s, to 540,000 MT in the 1990s and 900,000 MT since 2000. This is why today its contribution is very important to our markets.
Argentina's 2014 crop disaster put huge pressure on the global market, something we are still recovering from. Argentina contributes around 10% of the global fresh lemon fruit market. When you think that over the past 5 years Argentina has processed an average of 860,000 MT of fresh lemons then any crop 'disaster' will have a major impact on the global market.
Argentina is unique to the lemon market in that a majority (in this case 80%) of its fruit goes for processing, the opposite of other major origins like Spain, Italy, Mexico and even South Africa. Trade embargoes lifted by the USA on lemon imports from Argentina have created additional pressure on processing levels from the fresh fruit market.
Supply from Argentina remains limited, and consequently prices have firmed up. It is still too early to predict what the 2018 crop will look like. Suppliers tentatively suggested a similar crop to 2017, anything around 1.2 million tonnes of fruit is considered normal. Argentina’s production is slated to rise 100,000 MT to 1.4 million tonnes in a recovery from last year’s frost damage. Fruit for processing and exports are expected to rise with the larger crop. Lemons for processing are forecast to increase to 1.08 million MT from 992,000 MT the previous year. The market does seem quite stable at present, but we will be keeping a close eye on any movement as we approach the new harvest.
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