Natural Menthol & Synthetic Menthol - Norex Flavours Private Limited
The current scenario is something like that all companies are now more inclined towards synthetic than natural Menthol. The advantages they think of are considerably cheap pricing and long-term price stability. With the entry of Chinese synthetic Menthol manufacturers in the game, the companies producing synthetic Menthol in Europe and the USA are also forced to keep the prices on the lower side.
What does this mean to the Natural Menthol industry? Will this industry die? .. the two million Indian marginal farmer families and thousands of workers will be unemployed, and hundreds of small to medium units will shut down?. It Seems like a challenging situation for the Indian natural mint industry. Even if the Government of India intervenes to save many people's livelihoods, the materials will probably move to other international markets. At best, we can protect our domestic market, and conversely, it will boost the profitability of a few synthetic Menthol manufacturers in India.
Should we consider Synthetic Menthol manufacturers as a villain? I will say, Yes and No. I greatly respect science and innovation, and synthetic Menthol is also a science-based innovation that has solved supply shortages risk by natural menthol. However, the livelihood of millions of marginal people is a much bigger issue. At the same time, the consumer must also know whether the product he is consuming contains Natural or Synthetic Menthol.
There will still be many drivers for the Natural Menthol industry to survive. However, volumes will come down, but with the rising awareness in consumers for sustainable, organic, and ethical products, the demand for Natural Menthol may recover in coming years. The natural mint industry must also think out of the box and invest back in adding value to the mint farming value chain, as Norex does with project Sankalp. We have to work with farmers to cut down on their input costs and also to work with them to increase their yields so that farmers may happily sell Mentha Oil at a lower price, securing a living income and keeping Natural Menthol prices at par with synthetic menthol prices.
In any case, if synthetic capacities keep increasing, the prices of Natural Menthol will come down to compete. The prices of DMO (Dementholised Oil) will increase to compensate for the economics. However, there is also a limit to DMO price increases, as plenty of synthetic DMO blends are already on the market.
The future seems challenging for companies and farmers solely based on natural Menthol.