The price of key fragrance ingredients such as orange oil, geranium, lavender, clove oil and mint has rocketed by up to 400% as a result of the devastation wrought on harvests by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, droughts in Russia and flooding in Asia and South America.
The International Fragrance Association said prices had risen by between 10% and 400% over the past six months, with many members reporting "no end in sight" to price and supply problems.
Orange oil has been hit by droughts in Brazil, according to fragrance manufacturer Moellhausen, with prices tripling in the past few months to well over $6/kg. There were also likely to be shortages because of lower supplies from Florida, where harvests had been affected by frost, added fellow supplier Treatt.
Another key ingredient Eugenol, an essential oil found in cloves has soared 360% in price over the past few months.
Suppliers said that although they would have to absorb costs in the short term, there would be little alternative but for retail prices to rise later in the year. One source said he had been told by his fragrance supplier that it was increasing its prices by as much as 20%. "Products such as food, pharmaceutical and medicinal will take priority, which in turn increases pricing on personal care lines," he added.