Why is the D-limonene price so volatile?

Of all the products in our line, D-Limonene by far has the most volatile price. This can play havoc with cost management efforts of blenders and manufacturers that use a significant portion of D-Limonene in their “citrus cleaners” or degreasers. A little over a year ago, the price reached record highs, and almost hit $5/lb.. Within months, we saw the price crash into the $1.50’s before resuming its ascent. A look at D-Limonene’s production process helps explain this historic price volatility.

D-limonene is extracted from orange peels discarded from juice production. It has grown popular due to its excellent solvency for cleaning and degreasing, as well as its environmental claims of being all-natural and biodegradable.

Because it is derived from citrus fruits, almost all D-limonene sold in the United States comes from either Florida or Brazil, depending on which of those places is “in season” at the time. Its citrus-based origin also explains the historic price volatility, as orange supply is vulnerable to innumerable weather and other natural issues. Hurricanes, early or late frosts, excess rainfall, drought, and plagues of locusts have all negatively impacted the orange crop at one time or another.

There really is no way to protect against fluctuations in the D-limonene price. Whenever a customer tells me that they are considering adding a citrus cleaner to their product line, I explain that D-limonene has some great cleaning and environmental properties, and I always caution them to make sure they can handle the roller coaster ride of D-limonene prices.

We hope this article helps you to understand why D-limonene prices can get so crazy. If the D-limonene price is causing problems for your business, be sure to call your FBC sales representative. We have ample experience in adjusting formulas that can reduce your dependence on D-limonene and would be happy to discuss it with you.