Essential Oils Around the World
Athens plays host this month to the annual IFEAT conference. The International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades, better known as IFEAT, is a global organisation which was founded to represent all sections of the essential oils industry. IFEAT is proud to be celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. The annual conference is regarded as the most important event in the calendar for industry professionals from manufacturers, distributors and buyers, both for developing business contacts and social networking opportunities. KLBD is proud to have been a member of the organisation for the last few years.
Essential oils are highly concentrated essences which are extracted from different parts of aromatic plants, including flowers, bark, leaves, roots, peels and resin. They are complex mixtures that do not easily dissolve in water and can contain more than one hundred ingredients. In ancient times, it is said that Jews and Egyptians made essential oils by soaking the plants in oil before filtering them through a linen bag.
The wide ranging benefits of essential oils for cosmetic, therapeutic and health purposes are well documented, but essential oils naturally occur in many food items such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. They are also increasingly used as flavour enhancers, with peppermint, lemon and orange commonly used to flavour desserts, candies and chocolates. More herbal oils, such as thyme and marjoram are better suited for flavouring savoury foods such as stews and sauces.
The key to maintaining the superior quality of essential oils is largely dependent on where the plants have been grown. Plants which grow in indigenous environments yield better results when the natural elements are specific to that region. As well as quality, it is also important to remember for safety reasons that the concentrated nature of essential oils mean that one small amount is equivalent to many cups of herbal tea from the same plant. By way of example, one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26-28 cups of peppermint tea.
Many international producers of essential oils have sought KLBD certification in recognition that manufacturers and consumers alike see the KLBD logo as a sign of quality assurance. One example is Egyptian family firm, A. Fakhry &Co., which has devoted itself to the extraction of essential oils from aromatic plants at its manufacturing base in the heart of the Nile delta. At least one hundred and fifty organic products are produced there, eight of which are extracts, stemming from some of the rarest floral products used in the fine fragrance and flavour industries.
In China, another KLBD certified manufacturer of botanical oils is Zhuhai Pak Li Heung Flavours and Fragrances Limited. Another company in the region, Taiwan Tekho Camphor Co., Ltd. produces top purity products of aroma based chemicals and pharmaceutical products.
Indonesia is one of the world’s largest producers of essential oils. Located in North Sumatra, Indonesia, KLBD certified P.T. Karimun Kencana Aromatics can be found as a main producer and exporter of essential oils. Just some of the oils manufactured include vetiver oil, patchouli oil, citronella oil, nutmeg oil, clove leaf oil, mace oil and cananga oil.
In 2006, a company called Van Aroma was founded in West Sumatra and expanded in 2009 to add a second processing plant in Jakarta to keep up with demand for their products. The mission of Van Aroma is to provide a one stop shop for all requirements and derivatives of Indonesian natural products.
Similarly, Earthoil Plantations in Kenya offer a broad range of high quality organic and fair trade essential oils from around the globe, whilst Wild Flavors and Speciality Ingredients (A.M. Todd, India) has processing facilities to produce the highest quality mint oil and flavours. Both companies are KLBD certified.
Closer to home, Statfold Seed Oil Developments Ltd. is the UK’s leading producer of cold-pressed organic, natural and refined seed and fruit oils. As a major distributor of more than 200 different essential oils, Statfold creates bespoke oil blends for either nutritional or personal care product manufacturers and as a further symbol of quality accreditation, Statfold is KLBD certified.
Each food grade essential oil brings a unique flavour which can transform traditional recipes into something exceptional. Peppermint is an uplifting, natural energy booster which is commonly used to enhance food and drinks. Imaginative chefs and chocolatiers use the tiniest drops of orange, bergamot and lemongrass oils to blend with raw chocolate creations.
When specifying essential oil products it is imperative to ensure that they are 100% pure. As well as the growing conditions of plants already mentioned, other important factors include the harvesting process, manufacture, distribution and storage. Essential oils are produced by two key methods: by distillation using water / water and steam / steam / carbon dioxide or by extraction using solvents.
As part of its continuing commitment to support the global production of essential oils, IFEAT has provided the opportunity for members to join learning programmes and studies on the many and diverse aspects of the essential oil and aroma industry. Its principle objective for members worldwide is to promote good practice through international collaboration.
For more KLBD certified essential oil and derivatives producers click here.