Argan oil (the Moroccan Gold)

04. March 2014

INCI : Argania Spinosa Oil Origin: Marokko

Argan oil, popularly known as the “Moroccan Gold” is processed from the kernels of the Argan fruits (also called “Berber almonds”). It is a strongly growing natural ingredient in the personal care industry. The range of applications is very wide: hair oil, shampoos, day & night creams, anti-ageing creams, soaps, cleansing & body lotions, to name but a few make Argan oil a versatile and firm component in the cosmetics formulators’ tool box. The growing demand secures the sustainable existence and long term livelihoods of many Berber families in the Moroccan origins. Argan oil is a natural elixir with a strong reputation to maintain natural beauty. The oil has emollient properties and supports the blood circulation of the skin. The naturally occurring spinasterols are cell-rejuvenating and convey the natural regeneration of the epidermis. In the European market and when applied in premium quality cosmetic applications the deodorized grades of Argan oil are favored. During the process of deodorization (“steaming”) the typical “goat-like” odor is stripped (odor is removed) which simplifies the inclusion in the final products.

Argan oil: a true specialty! … the 8 key facts:

  1. To produce one liter of cold pressed Argan oil, one requires ~30 kg of fruits (the yield of 4-5 trees!). The average tree -yield is approximately 4 – 6 kg of Argan nuts.
  2. The annual supply of Argan oil is estimated to be around 3 – 4mn. liters.
  3. The origin of Argan oil is in the heart of Morocco and the south-eastern part of Algeria. The current area under Argan tree cultivation is ~820.000 ha.
  4. The production area is protected by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve, as the Argan trees are in danger of extinction.
  5. The Argan tree reaches a height of up to 10 meter and has a crown-circumference of a good 16 meters
  6. The main harvest of the Argan fruits / nuts is in the period from July through to September.
  7. In particularly dry seasons it can happen that the trees do not carry any significant amount of nuts for two consecutive years.
  8. For thousands of years the Argan tree is not only highly valued for its oil but also for its distinctive wood. Since most Berber cooperatives are working on their own commercialization, a very significant proportion of the chain of the added value remains in the origin market!


Argan oil – simple things done well

Not only in the field of personal care is this specialty treasured: also in the preparation and refining of food stuffs, Argan oil (also in its roasted variety) is applied and on account of its unique, nutty taste a real “silver bullet” in your kitchen! This heavenly taste reminds of a multitude of powerful African aromas. These potent impressions are reminiscent of toasted hazelnuts accompanied by summery notes of Macchia Myth, combined with acerbic tones of goat cheese. The European, particularly the French markets are very strong takers of toasted Argan oil; closely followed by the US, Japan and China.

Simple things done well!

Be it in combination with honey in a marinade for exquisite meats, or in preparing fish, chicken, soaps and casseroles this great tasting oil will give food that little “extra”… When added to a tomato source the taste and aroma is lifted: there are no limits to creativity and the results will knock you off your feet! You will be bombed by the taste explosion which Argan gives to every dish you put on the table!

The “Bazar” … the market place for Argan oil

On account the growing demand and the limited availability one cannot lose sight of the quality element. There is a significant risk that “mass” in instead of “class” hits the market yards when prices climb to further heights. This has to be closely observed! In order to meet our customers’ requirements, OPW works very closely with dedicated partners to ensure the highest product quality and guarantee the integrity of the product. Our Argan oil is one of our gourmet oils. Amongst our Almond oil, Walnut oil, Apricot kernel oil and Sesame oil the OPW Argan oil also ranks amongst the top in our “care oils” range which OPW currently promotes very actively.

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