Exports of Caribbean essential oils to Europe rising

Exports of Caribbean essential oils to the EU has grown by 33% in the past year due to rising concern about sustainability and ethics in personal care products, according to the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) on 31 July.

Caribbean Export said the natural cosmetics sector was currently growing at an annual rate of 8-10% in the EU, with an increasing demand for natural ingredients, particularly black castor and coconut oils.

“In 2018, Caribbean countries (CARICOM) exported essential oils valued over €32M (US$35.8M) to the EU, which represents 8% of all imports to the region,” said manager for competitiveness and export promotion at Caribbean Export, Damie Sinanan.

“We are seeing this demand increase year by year, in large partly due to greater concern about sustainability and ethics on the part of European consumers.

“Companies and consumers want to feel assured that what they are buying is 100% natural oil and that there are no synthetic components.”

The Caribbean had its strength in the production of black castor oil, for example, which was distinct from castor oil, Sinanan said.

Produced mostly in Jamaica and Haiti, black castor oil was made by roasting, grinding and cooking castor seeds to extract a dark brown oil high in vitamin E, minerals, protein and omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids.

Sinanan told Cosmetics Design-Europe on 7 August that growing interest in men’s personal grooming was also driving demand for Carribean essential oils.

EU demand was concentrated in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK.

In Europe, the cosmetics market is valued at €77bn (US$86bn), making it the largest market in the world, according to Caribbean Export.