Lemon oil from all corners of the world is one of Ultra’s core products.
Lemon has a place in so 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 who are themselves small producers on the global scale.
Italy is Europe's third largest producer of lemons, behind Turkey and Spain. Their winter season runs from November until January and their summer season from April until July. Sicily produces 86% of Italian lemons. Femminello Commune (53%), Monachello (10.2%), and Zagara Bianca (23.5%) are the main lemon varieties grown in Italy.
Italy’s total lemon production is estimated to be around 380,000 to 400,000 MT, lower than last season’s crop. The fall in crop size is due to severe aridity which led to major spoilage of the flowers. As always, the amount of crop available for processing will be determined in part by the volume of fruit sold to the fresh fruit market, which is growing and dominates lemon use. Other factors influencing the quantity of lemons processed include the buying price offered to the cooperative growers by the processors, along with the currently depressed prices of lemon oil and other lemon products in other producing countries, especially Argentina and Spain. In addition, carryover supplies of juice as well as oil are likely to delay processing. Currently, it is estimated that approximately 120,000 MT of fruit will be processed, with a probable 120,000 MT – 140,000 MT likely to be available for processing.
Last season, Italy earned the distinction of commanding the highest price in the world for lemons for processing averaging €280/MT. Not only was this the highest, but it was thrice the average price of Spanish lemons which fetched between €80-€100/MT. However, Italy does have the advantage of being able to process lemons for 9 to 10 months of the year.
Fortunately for Italy, Sicily holds the dominant position for organic lemons. This relatively small sector is rather resilient in terms of recessionary impact although less is likely to be processed due to some carryover. Overall yields of juice and oil are anticipated to be normal and with the smaller crop, quality will be excellent. Prices are expected to be more or less stable. Globally lemon product prices are depressed and are predicted to remain relatively stable at these levels.
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