Givaudan alternatives to ease lemon oil squeeze

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Citrus Givaudan

The high cost of citrus, mainly as a result of poor weather in prime growing regions, has led Givaudan to develop a new range of lemon oil replacers, which it claims are a precise match for the flavour profile and functionality.

The price of lemon oil has escalated dramatically in the last three years, and has more than doubled in the last year. Dawn Streich, Givaudan's citrus product manager, said that in 2007 there were weather-related events in each of the main growing regions: A freeze in California January, frost in Argentina September, and hot, dry, Scirocco winds during the bloom period in Italy, Spain, Turkey in June. A secondary factor in the price story is increased consumption of fresh lemons in developing markets where consumers now have more disposable income. This means that less lemons are available for processing - and, as lemon oil is a by-product of processing, less lemon oil too. As a result of these factors, the flavour giant is expecting there to be a 30 per cent shortage in lemon oil supply this year, which is expected to push up prices still further. The beverage industry is expected to be hit particularly hard by this, as a large proportion of the world's lemon oil goes into drinks. In order to soften the blow to its customers and offer some stability on costs for the future, Givaudan has developed its new lemon oil replacer range, as part of its Sunthesis engineered citrus ingredients collection. "We will price aggressively to beat the market price for natural lemon oil and can typically offer an advantage of 20-40 per cent to our customers,"​ Streich said. Streich clarified that the ingredients are not genetically engineered; on the contrary, they are being marketed as a 'clean label solution'. She said they are "the result of long term analytical research to understand the component make up of citrus flavour and how each component functions within the flavour profile."​ This allows the company to draw on natural sources, including citrus fruits and other, unspecified, components to replicate lemon flavour. Givaudan says it has secure access to the necessary raw materials. In addition to duplicating the flavour profile of lemon oil, Givaudan has also built up knowledge on light, heat and acid stability of citrus, which allows it to develop replacers with the same functionality as the original oils. Other citrus flavour replacers in the Sunthesis range include orange, lime and grapefruit.

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