Where's it Grown?

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By regularly visiting our suppliers, and maintaining close relationships with them, we ensure our fingers are always on the pulse of what’s going on in the markets and the wider industry. Our first-hand knowledge is invaluable so that we can make sure we’re buying from the right sources, at the right time and at the best possible price to best serve our global customer base.

We take a look at some of the key citrus regions as demand for citrus continues to rise:

Oranges make up 53 million tonnes of the world’s citrus production (2016-2017). Brazil is the largest processor of fruit and exporter of derivatives such as juice and essential oil by far. The region of São Paulo in Brazil produces 80-90% of all Brazilian oranges, with over ten thousand citrus growers located in São Paulo itself. The region benefits from a temperate climate which makes it an ideal condition for orange production. Other leading producers of orange include China, Mexico, Florida and Europe.


Lemon is a hybrid of citron and bitter orange. It is well suited to subtropical or Mediterranean climates such as Argentina, Spain, US, Turkey, Italy, Brazil and South Africa. The ingredient has accelerated in popularity in all things food, beverage and “health” over the last decade, particularly in North America and parts of Europe.

Argentina is by far the world’s largest producer of lemon oil, where 75-80% of fruit goes to processing; the opposite is true of most other major origins where fresh fruit exports drive the lemon business. California continues to be both the largest producer and processor of lemons in the US, however the percentage of fruit that goes to the processors continues to decline year on year as the fresh fruit market gains in importance.

Two primary lime varieties of commercial interest are Citrus latifolia, also known as Persian/Tahitian lime (lime expressed) and Citrus aurantifolia, also known as key lime (lime distilled). Persian/Tahitian lime is a hybrid of key lime and lemon. This variety is predominantly grown in Brazil and on the eastern coast of Mexico. The fruit is seedless which makes it ideal in beverages such as tropical drinks and cocktails.

Key lime is a hybrid of citron, a micrantha and papeda. It is predominantly grown along the western coast of Mexico and in Peru.The limes are much smaller than Persian/Tahitian limes, have seeds and grow on extremely thorny trees. They are processed most of the year, although the season peaks in July and August.

China is technically the largest grower of tangerines in the world, but all the fruit is consumed internally, and very little juice or oil comes from this continent, although segmented mandarin oranges are still a very big industry there. Spain and California are the main producers of the “easy peels” or “zipper-skinned” tangerines such as Clementines and Cuties, which have been growing immensely in popularity over the last five years. Japan, Morocco, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil are also producing several varieties of tangerine crops, almost all for fresh fruit consumption. Mexico is the largest processor of the premium flavour tangerine Dancy, which has a very tight harvesting and processing period of only about four weeks from mid-December through mid-January.

Florida followed by Mexico remain the main producers of grapefruit with Israel, China, South Africa and Turkey also producing smaller crops. However, with strong demand and reduced supply worldwide, grapefruit prices have dramatically increased in the last five years, particularly for white grapefruit oil and its derivatives. Plantings of this type of grapefruit have completed ceased and current production at the tail end of its life cycle. At Treatt, we can offer nature identical and With Other Natural Flavours (WONF) products, with the benefits of being sustainable and cost-effective whilst still delivering that all important flavour.

Our Expertise
If you would like to find out more about our natural or nature identical solutions, please ask your Treatt representative to assist you in exploring those options. Our citrus procurement approach utilises global strategic supply alliances, which ensures continuous availability, imperative for the volatile markets we operate in.

Email enquiries@treatt.com to find out how we can offer our expertise and guidance to help you stand out in the citrus market.