The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans is indigenous to the Moluccas, Indonesia. The fruit contains a nut, which is covered by a hard shell. A red coloured webbing (known as mace) covers the shell. Once ripe the fruit will open revealing the mace and will fall to the ground to be collected or it can be picked just before falling. The mace will be carefully removed leaving the nutmeg (nut) available to be ground and processed.
The oil is extracted from the 'nut' by steam distillation after the grinding of the nutmeg.
The nutmeg is slightly sweeter than mace making the dry or ground spice a favourite in many culinary dishes. As an essential oil it is extensively used in perfumery and pharmaceuticals as well as a natural flavouring for baked goods, beverages, syrups and sweets.
Indonesia exports around 350-400MT of nutmeg oil each year which accounts for around 80% of the global production. Today the product is predominately plantation harvested.
Read more about the impact of recent plantations in our latest Elementary Report.
Read our latest report on Indonesia presented in October 2015 at the IFEAT conference in Sri Lanka, titled 'Indonesia - Current & Future Market Dynamics'
An increase in the price of nutmeg generally leads to inferior quality oil in the market. Distillers add terpenes from turpentine, which compromises the quality. Currently, the price has risen, due to a delayed crop. This was a result of wet conditions. These prices are likely to prevail till October, when the next crop season commences.
The price of nutmeg oil is mostly stable, and no major fluctuations are expected, though demand for the oil currently exceeds supply. Producers are working to identify new and reliable sources. Production capacity and sales have doubled in the first two quarters, and the trend is expected to continue. Maintaining the highest quality during distillation is the biggest challenge. Producers and distillers are working together to solve this issue.
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