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.
The 2019/2020 European Union lemon crop is expected to decrease by 16% to 1.4 million metric tonnes (MMT) compared to the previous year. This is mainly due to a drop in production in Spain and Italy, the two largest lemon producers in Europe, because of unfavourable weather conditions. According to the latest data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAPA), Spain’s 2019/2020 lemon production is forecast at 923,000 MT, a decrease of almost 20% compared to the previous year.
The reduction in Spanish lemon production has resulted in less fruit for processing. In addition, the industry has also experienced a further reduction in fruit for processing as a result of the fresh market taking advantage of Turkey’s reduced lemon presence in Eastern markets. On the other hand, having experienced additional demand in the fresh market with the COVID-19 outbreak in March as consumers reverted to fresh lemons for their high Vitamin C content, the impact of COVID-19 was reversed during May by reducing fresh fruit demand from the closure of the food service sector, making more fruit available for processing. It is possible that the 2019/2020 season could conclude with approximately 250,000 MT of processed lemons.
With regards to lemon oil, after the significant price decline there is a trend shift and prices have slowly started to go up from early 2020. Spanish lemon trees were hit after the blossoming stage and therefore a reduction in yield is forecast compared to last year. This, together with constant demand, is slowly but constantly pushing prices upwards.
AILIMPO’s initial forecasts for the 2020/2021 new crop beginning in September estimate 1.25 MMT of lemons will be harvested, exceeding the projected final figure for 2019/2020 by 10%. This initial estimate will mainly depend on the availability of water during the summer and the autumn rains.
In the case of Fino lemon variety production, accounting for 70% of total production and predominantly used for processing, it is estimated at 950,000 MT, an increase of 14% over the current year. In making these forecasts AILIMPO considered the effect of the progressive entry into production of the new plantations carried out in recent years and the situation of the size of the lemons at the present time, which is considered optimal thanks to the good availability of water.
Regarding the Verna lemon variety, representing 30% of total production, the first forecast points to a harvest of 300,000 MT in 2021, which would represent a volume very similar to that of the current 2020 campaign with a slight decrease of 2%.
SPAIN: LEMON PRODUCTION 2019/2020 COMPARED TO FORECAST
2020/2021 CROP (METRIC TONNES)
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