- Menthol flake is a
transparent, white liquid with strong minty herbal odour derived from
Mentha oil, which is obtained from a perennial herb called Mint (Mentha
arvensis) belonging to the Labiatae family. This family is well known
for aromatic plants, which yield volatile oils from the foliage.
- Mentha oil derived
by steam distillation of mint (pudina) leaves is frozen to (-) 60o
Celsius in an aluminum vessel for about a week. The liquid is then
centrifuged to obtain De-Mentholised Oil (DMO) and Menthol flakes to
the extent of 30% and 70% respectively. Menthol flakes are melted and
packed in 180 kg galvanized iron barrel and Menthol flakes are further
processed to obtain Menthol crystals.
- Menthol flakes and
its constituents and derivatives are used in food, pharmaceutical,
perfumery and flavoring industry. Its main constituent, menthol, is
used in the manufacture of lozenges, toothpastes, pain balms, cold balms,
Dabur Pudin Hara, etc.
- It is estimated that
tobacco industry accounts for about 40% of the total Mentha oil
consumption followed by pharmacy and confectionary industry.
- Globally, India is
the largest producer and exporter of Menthol Flakes. The other major
producers in the world are China, Brazil, US and Japan. Out of total
global production of Menthol flakes India contributes around 73%,
China 18% and others 9%.
- India meets the
global demand by exporting nearly 10000 to 12000 tonnes per annum
valued at more than Rs. 1000 crores. The major exports are directed to
countries like China, France, Germany, Japan etc. About 50% of total
Menthol flakes production is exported to China, whereas menthol
crystals are exported to US and European countries.
- India's annual
production of Menthol flakes has been rising in the recent years to
meet the rising demand, with 2007 and 2008 production estimated to be
around 22,000 tonnes. However, production in 2009 is reported to have
fallen to around 18,000 - 20,000 tonnes.
- Uttar Pradesh is
India's largest producing state, contributing almost 80-90%, to the
country's total production, followed by Bihar, Punjab, Haryana and
- Cultivation of mint
in India starts from February - March every year and the crop takes
around 90 days to mature and produces first flowers, which is the best
stage to harvest. First harvesting is done during May - June. Farmers
undertake atleast two harvestings from the crop. Menthol flakes
production in India begins from mid-June and steady arrivals are seen
- The major
production/trading centers of Menthol flakes cover the districts of
Moradabad, Rampur, Barabanki, Sitapur and Lucknow in the Central Uttar
Pradesh; Chandigarh & Jalandhar in Punjab.
Market Influencing Factors
- The acreage under
the crop, weather conditions during cultivation and India's output are
very important factors influencing supply and prices as major share of
global production and exports emanate from India.
- As India exports a
significant portion of its annual production, any factor which affects
global demand including macro-economic factors like economic scenario,
currency fluctuations have a profound influence on domestic prices.
- The stock present
with traders and the cost at which it has been acquired is a major
price influencing factor.
- Domestic demand
usually peaks during the winter season. Despite, supply not being a
constraint in recent years due to successive bumper outputs, prices do
display a tendency to firm during the winter months.
- The physical market
of this commodity is very fragmented, does not have a regulatory body
and is large consisting of around 500 participants including small
processors, traders exporters and industrial users. The information
flow is not uniform and accurate between different participants in
many cases, which too is a factor to be kept considered, while pricing
- Meanwhile, as
Menthol flakes is not considered an essential commodity Government
intervention in this commodity is very minimal.