1.1 Definition and presentation
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.
Essential oils are therefore highly concentrated flavored compounds, which are the protagonists in a wide range of sectors, from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics, to household and/or industrial products. The global market for essential oils is growing exponentially and projections continue to be positive, driven more by the food and beverage industry, which is undergoing rapid transformation due to the new food and nutritional needs of consumers around the world.
Europe is the leading market, driven by growing demand in particular for aromatherapy and for more varieties of cosmetic products. In Italy, the supply chain of essential oils has a very fragmented image, with a myriad of players, of different sizes and employed in different activities (e.g. producers of oils versus pharmaceutical companies) who operate in a very dynamic and expanding sector.
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