Raw materials. After the holidays, the mine is undone. Stop the excess of food, cry the entrails. Let’s quickly find a solution. When the complexion is yellow, why not play it tone on tone? In short, at the start of the election year, let’s vote for lemon. And press, to taste its acidity without delay and absorb its benefits.
“Lemon is all the rage. It is one of the rare citrus fruits whose consumption curves show a real dynamic of growth ”, comment Eric Imbert, from the Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), which figures the volume of world trade in fresh lemons at 2.3 million tonnes. It has jumped by more than 50% in ten years. Thus, each French person swallows an average of two kilos per year, against 1.6 kg ten years ago. As for the Germans, they have almost doubled their annual consumption over the same period, reaching 2.6 kg. And the craze affects the United States and Canada just as much. The lemon turns round.
And yet, the small yellow fruit has long remained in the shadow of oranges, tangerines, clementines and pomelos. Relegated to the simple rank of condiment. When, suddenly, consumers rediscovered that, under its golden bark, hid a treasure for health. Especially since the singer Beyoncé has not spared to popularize her slimming diet based on lemon. The fat-burning effect of citrus has ignited social media. Chin shot of lemon. The coronavirus pandemic has also contributed to its success.
Faced with this greed for its vitamin juice, lemon trees have gained ground, at the risk of destabilizing the market. In France, the source of this delicate culture had almost dried up. Obtaining the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) lemon of Menton, in 2015, reopened the floodgates. Now, 44 producers are picking the precious fruit, the price of which is negotiated up to 8 euros per kilo, against 1 to 2 euros previously.
But the 40 tonnes of golden fruit from the French Riviera are not enough to supply the French market. Unsurprisingly, the Spanish flow flows into France in winter, when the lemon takes up residence in South Africa or Argentina in summer. The country of tango is, in fact, the world’s leading producer of easy peelers, with 1.47 million tonnes in 2020, ahead of Spain (1.37 million tonnes). Even if for the current season, Turkey could grill him politeness. For its part, Italy keeps its lemons to make limoncello or ice cream. And the lime, you will say? The wave of the mojito propelled him. But, in this case, forget the healthy zest …