Lemon oil from all corners of the world is one of Ultra’s core products.
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. The Spanish are the largest within Europe producing around 900,000 MT - 1,000,000 MT of fresh lemons in any given good year.
There are two seasons in Spain giving them around 9 months of harvesting during the year. The 'Fino' and 'Primafiori' type runs from November to March and the 'Verna' type from April to July. Depending on the year 20-25% of all lemons are further processed.
Today we associate lemon oil production with Italy and Spain (Europe), Argentina, Bolivia and USA (Americas) and even South Africa who are small producers on the global scale.
Spain is Europe's largest producer of fresh lemons and the largest producer of oil.
Lemon oil is obtained by cold expression or steam distillation of lemon's peel.
So far, unlike its Latin American competitors, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a relatively smaller impact on the EU’s 2019/20 citrus harvest, since it arrived towards the end of the harvesting campaign. According to recent EU Commission data, the total citrus crop in 2019-2020 is estimated at 6.2 million MT, which is 5% below the 2018-2019 level, in part because of lower yields. Moreover, it has recently been reported that rising consumer demand for both fresh oranges and orange juice, as consumers look for sources of vitamin C, has led to a sharp increase in retail sales, which has more than offset the drop in foodservice demand. However, both EU fresh orange imports and exports have fallen, mainly because of logistical difficulties.
AILIMPO forecasts a 22% reduction in the 2019-2020 lemon crop due to unfavourable weather in Spain and Storm Gloria in January destroying about 80% of the citrus crop in Valencia. The latest data forecast a total production of 1.02 million MT, compared with 2018-2019 which reached the record figure of 1.3 million MT.
It is expected that demand will be activated for Fino lemons from February onwards. For the Verna variety, Spain is returning to production levels similar to those of 2017, with a total harvest forecast of 290,000 MT, which will allow Spain to consolidate its position as a leading supplier in Europe for conventional and organic fruit in April to June, with quality, sustainable and excellent service lemons. The strong fruit demand and the smaller crop size has led to increased fruit prices, which will adjust the number of lemons available for processing.
As Spanish consumers look for additional sources of vitamin C and healthy nutrients, so domestic demand for citrus products has increased. At the end of April, it was reported that this growing demand combined with an estimated 20% fall in Spanish citrus production has led to a normalisation of Spanish citrus prices from mid-April. The sector argues that it has sufficient supplies available to satisfy domestic markets. The plummeting prices of 2019 led to major protests, right up to the COVID-19 crisis, against low commodity prices and imports, especially from South Africa. At the end of March, the Agriculture Minister announced that fresh produce farmers are receiving higher prices following a pledged revision of prices along the Spanish food supply chain.
Lemon Production 2018/19 compared with 2019/20 (MT)
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