Grapefruit oil is processed from the peel of the fruit and can come in a number of types determined by its colour. Red, white and pink varieties are available which are usually grouped as ‘white’ or ‘coloured’.
Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and other nutrients and phytochemicals and is often associated with healthy living and diets.
As a flavour it is highly acidic and contains grapefruit mercaptan (a sulphur terpene) giving both a sweet, tarty and sometime bitter taste, somewhat different to most other citrus fruits.
The citrus industry in Florida has been struggling with the serious disease Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening. This bacterial disease causes green, misshapen and bitter-tasting fruit, and eventually kills the citrus tree.
Citrus greening disease (or Huanglongbing, abbreviated as HLB) is a disease common to citrus plants transmitted by insects. Historically it is more commonly found in China and Africa but was first discovered in Florida in 1998 in orange. It is a bacterium that can grow quicker in hot temperatures and will ultimately kill the plant/tree where the fruit is growing. In the mean time the plant/tree will bear multiple seasons of small fruits, many unsuitable for processing. There is no cure for greening so the disease is hard to control once a region is infected.
The table shows how HLB has damaged fruit output, which has in turn restricted the volumes available for processing, increasing prices in its path.
|Type / Season||2011/12||2012/13||2013/14||2014/15*|
|Coloured (1,000 boxes)||13,500||13,100||11,500||11,000|
|White (1,000 boxes)||5,350||5,250||4,150||4,000|
*2014/15 Forecasts as at April 2015
There is a slack in demand for grapefruit oil. The industry has seen quite a high price range for this oil, especially due to the reformulation work that has been undertaken. The availability of superior quality fruit from Florida has dropped significantly, and naturally this has affected the production of the oil. The USDA’s May production forecast puts the availability of white grapefruit at 780,000 boxes and that of red grapefruit at 3.8 million boxes – rather disheartening figures for the grapefruit market where the supply has been waning over the last twenty years and the fall-off is almost 90%. Grapefruit oil with very low nootkatone is available in other parts of the world. However, even this grade of oil is available in limited quantities and is constrained by lack of fresh fruit supply due to demand from the local markets. It is known that the return on investment on fresh fruit is more than that of essential oil. This, coupled with a robust demand, is the key influencer that dictates the choice of citrus fruit cultivation for growers.
Market price USD 70.00 /kilo (White)
Market price USD 40.00 /kilo (Pink)
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