Orange oil is extracted by simple pressure from the outer coloured part of the Citrus sinensis peel. Oranges are widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates for the sweet fruit and commercially for essential oil extraction.
Orange oil is a by-product of the juice industry. Oil is cold pressed from the peel of the fruit, after the juice extraction and is widely used across the flavour and fragrance industry. Sweet orange (citrus sinensis) is around 90% d’limonene, a product used across many industries. Approximately 40% of global oranges are processed for juice and oil with 60% solely used as a fresh fruit for consumption.
Known as 'the orchid of Spain', Valencia is the largest growing region in Spain. You will find this type of 'sweet' orange growing near the coastlines whilst you will find cities such as Seville, Córdoba and Málaga filled with oranges during the season. Spain produces around 50% of all Europe's oranges making it the largest within the European Union. Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Portugal are the other main producers in Europe.
Spain is almost producing oranges all year round from over 300,000 hectares as the different varieties and regions lend themselves to production at different times. It is thought that of the 15,000 MT of 'bitter' oranges produced around Seville, most go into marmalades for the UK market.
Over the last decade Spain’s orange plantations have gone down by 9% but despite that it remains the foremost orange cultivator in the EU with 139,132 hectares. Valencia and Andalusia are the country’s leading orange-growing regions contributing a whopping 90% of the total production. Spain’s prominent orange varieties include Naveline, Navel, Navelate, Salustiane, Valencia and Sanguinello. Producers generally follow a tradition of cultivating and alternating early as well as the late blooms to prolong the availability of fruit throughout the year. Most oranges like the Navelina and Navelate are preferred fresh while the essential oil is extracted from the Valencia late varieties.
The orange orchards have been parched by soaring temperatures in summer and buffeted by heavy rains in the fall of 2019. Consequently, Spain’s orange crop is expected to plunge by a significant 15.2% to an estimated 3.3 million MMT. Like many other citrus producing nations, Spain too has seen a sharp rise in domestic fruit consumption. The sudden demand and consequent shortage of supplies has led to price inflation.
Spanish exports have also moved upward. Demand propelled by increased consumer consumption has led to higher exports to Canada as well as the EU, the March 2020 figures being at a record-breaking high. In the initial phase of the pandemic – that is, the first quarter of 2019/20 – Spain notched up a 7% increase. As stated, Spain also holds the distinction of being Europe’s foremost orange processor with about 20% of Spanish orange earmarked for processing.
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