Mandarin essential oil is extracted by cold expression from the peel of the mandarin fruit and is a member of the orange family. It can be produced as yellow, green or red depending upon the origin, maturity or species of the fruit. It is also considered to be one of the safest citrus essential oils for using in flavouring, fragrances and aromatherapy.
As the name suggests, mandarin plants are native to China. From there, they went to Europe and now Italy is one of the biggest producers of mandarin Oil. The tree is also grown in plantations in South America, with Brazil and Argentina the two largest producing countries.
Unlike the Citrus sinensis tree (orange oil or sweet orange) the mandarin tree is usually smaller in size. Once ripened sufficiently (depending on the desired outcome of the oil) harvesting is usually done by hand as these delicate fruits could sustain bruising or damage if mechanical harvesting equipment is used.
Red mandarin is distilled from fresh, ripened fruit peel. Green mandarin is distilled from the unripe fruit of the mandarin tree, yielding a sharper greener oil than that of red mandarin.
Apart from the obvious use as a flavouring agent in the food and beverages, we also find mandarin oil in cosmetics, body care products and perfumes. Additionally this oil has therapeutic uses. These include cytophylactic, digestive, circulatory, anti spasmodic and antiseptic uses to name a few.
The crop ended with disappointing results and today there are few stocks available after most production was taken for existing contracts.
The 2016/17 crop was similar to that of 2015 which itself was 15% lower than 2014. About 10,000 MT of fruit went for processing.
These long running low outputs continue to put stress on the market where demand is certainly consistently higher than supply.
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