1.1 Presentation and definition of the essential oils market
Essential oils are mixtures extracted from the so-called aromatic plants, in the form of oily and liquid substances, but whose molecular composition is different from that of vegetable oils. Essential oils are generally extracted by hydro distillation or cold pressing. Both processes are lengthy and require a certain amount of know-how.
There are many plants and flowers used to produce essential oils, but examples include lavender, rosewood, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, chamomile, tea tree, geranium, citrus fruits, mint and patchouli.
It should be noted that the content of essential oils in plants generally remains very small, ranging from 0,01% (e. g. rose petals) to 1%. Thus to obtain one kilo of pure essential oil, it is necessary to distil between 4 and 7 tons of rose petals, from 115 to 200 kg of lavender, or even 1 ton of orange blossoms.
The main markets of opportunities for the manufacture of essential oils in the world are food processing, perfumes, cosmetics, aromatherapy, cleaning products and pharmaceuticals (Quimdis). The world market for essential oils is booming, driven in particular by the consumption of Western markets (France is a very dynamic region), guided by the fashion for aromatherapy and the manufacture of cosmetic products.
There are several players on the market, often with very different positioning:
- Producers of vegetable raw materials (flowers and plants intended for the production of essential oils).
- Essential oil producers who distil or cold press flowers and plants. They vary in size, from craftsmen to large industrial groups.
- Companies consuming essential oils from various industries (cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, agri-food).
- Regulatory and control bodies that check the quality and harmfulness of oils and certify them.
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