Essential Oil Outlook 2016 via Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.

Well, if 2015 is any indication, it may be that essential oils and aromatherapy might continue to reach new dimensions in popularity. This also means the issue of sustainability will move closer to center stage. It is no secret that the quantities required by the large MLM companies to satisfy their growing number of followers are larger than what conventional suppliers are equipped to provide.

Shortages of essential oils as we have seen them in 2015 may repeat themselves, even if they may not be as obvious as the absence of Cape Chamomile was. As Cape Chamomile has a rather unique composition it was not possible, at least not in the short term, to substitute it, by a blend of other oils. In the case of more common oils, such as Lavender, shortages manifest differently. As all the true ‘Fine Lavender’ of 2015 is basically spoken for, the trade shifts to clones from regions with larger production such as Bulgaria, Moldavia, Ukraine and China. While these Lavender oils are of fine quality in their own right, having to deal with different clones from different regions has its own challenges for the marketer. The parameters for the quality grades (this issue of creating official sounding designations for quality grades has been discussed in other places and shall therefore not be revisited here) that the MLM define for themselves  must be drawn up in such a way  as to include the oils from different origins.

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