A Question of Scale
The funny thing is that small-scale distribution and handling of hydrosols is easier than large scale. Unless you gear up to transport and store everything in refrigerated trucks, put coolers at the retail outlets, and packaging only under sterile conditions with adequate filtration, you are creating the ideal conditions for problems to arise.
Now, if hydrosols were treated like a foodstuff, or even beer (remember Bud?), then they would be handled in just this manner, but they are usually treated as cosmetics. The public treats very few cosmetics with this kind of elaborate care.
However, most aestheticians will tell you that you should never put your fingers in a jar of cream because you introduce bacteria that will happily grow in a nice rich base.
Do you use a little spatula to scoop your cream or face mask from the jar? Most people don't. So, for the mass market, a real change in thinking must occur if a hydrosol product is ever to become commercially viable.
Enter the grocery store. In the past three years a whole range of healthy beverages have been launched to capitalize on the juice-bar and health-food phenomenon. These drinks contain real fruit and a range of supplements like spirulina, wheat grass, ginseng, Saint John's wort, ginkgo, and so on. they contain no preservatives and have a short shelf life.
It is not uncommon to see them in the cooler right beside the soda pops and iced-tea drinks. These products are changing the way people think about their beverage choices. For many, especially the hip young health conscious and the upwardly mobile, it is these new drinks that fill the shopping cart.
And these consumers pay attention to the dates, and they do drink them quickly, which means they also buy more. These beverages cost more, but that is to be expected of a natural product. It is quite a shift in consumer buying habits, and it has happened in a relatively short time.
Reference: Hydrosols: The next Aromatherapy: Suzanne Catty