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IFEAT Insights: Lemon Oil Crisis

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The annual gathering of the International Federation of Essential Oil and Aroma Trades in Montreal, Canada, provides the industry with a chance to review its challenges: shifting definitions of natural, climate change, agricultural competition from bio fuels, global supply chain issues, REACH and more.

Suzy Nolan of Lionel Hitchen USA was kind enough to share her insights into the recent lemon oil crisis with P&Fnow. (Read her full comments in P&F magazine's December IFEAT wrap-up.) She notes that 2008 is "a year where there will be an estimated 35–40% shortfall."

She continues, "The usage of lemon oil is growing. Lemon oil is used in the manufacture of flavors, fragrance and beverages. The population is growing so the volume of these products is growing as well. In soft drinks alone, the volume is predicted to grow by 9% by 2012. There was a time period between 1995–2000 when global lemon cultivation grew by 40–50%. This was followed by record low prices for oil. During the years of record low prices, the usage also increased due to pricing. The future prospects for price/supply stability depend a lot on the weather. In 2008, the weather drastically affected the crops in every major growing region. If we were to have a year where all regions have a 'normal' crop, supply and demand might be fairly close to balanced. Unfortunately with global warming and earth changes, no one is sure what to expect for the future."