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The European market potential for turmeric

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The European market is promising for turmeric suppliers from developing countries. Turmeric has many health benefits that meet the needs of European consumers. European buyers are already familiar with turmeric and its applications in the health product industry, which creates an opportunity for suppliers of turmeric from developing countries.

1. Product description

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a subspecies of the Curcuma genus from the family of Zingiberaceae. There are about 100 species that belong to the Curcuma genus. Curcuma longa is the most popular one; other Curcuma species include Curcuma amada (mango ginger), Curcuma kwangsiensis, Curcuma zedoaria (zedoary) and Curcuma aromatica (wild turmeric).

The active substance of turmeric (Curcuma longa), curcumin, has multiple therapeutic properties such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer prevention. The largest turmeric producers are India, China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam. India is the world’s largest producer and exporter.

Turmeric has been used in traditional medicine for various conditions in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Turmeric is used in Ayurvedic and Unami medicine to treat conditions such as inflammation, ulcers, diabetes, diarrhoea, liver disease as well as various skin conditions including insect bites, chickenpox and itching. Many of its traditional uses are supported by scientific evidence.

Turmeric is not yet widely used in Western medicine. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is used to treat or relieve symptoms of cancer, dementia and irritable bowel syndrome. Turmeric is also shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. In addition, turmeric is used as a spice as well as a colourant in foods, cosmetics and textiles. This report examines the application of turmeric in the health product industry.

There are usually two grades of turmeric on the European market. Food-grade turmeric is sold as a spice in retail. Pharmaceutical-grade turmeric is sold in the form of supplements. Food-grade turmeric is more common in Europe because of the high demand from the retail and food sectors.

Turmeric is traded under HS code 0910300000. The CAS Registry Number of turmeric is 458-37-7.

Figure 1: Example of turmeric products in the European health product market

Example of turmeric products

Tips:

  • Inform European buyers about your turmeric’s beneficial properties when approaching them, as well as displaying this information on your company website and marketing materials. This is likely to increase your chances of entering the European market.
  • See the European Union herbal monograph on turmeric for more information on its properties and applications.
  • Look for credible literature sources on the benefits of turmeric. Use these references in your product documentation and marketing materials. You can find various scientific studies on platforms such as sciencedirect.com, NCBI or Google Scholar.

2. What makes Europe an interesting market for turmeric?

Turmeric is used in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and homeopathic industry. However, in Europe, the majority of turmeric is used by the food industry. Turmeric is increasingly used in the natural health product industry, because it provides several benefits (highlighted in the previous section).

There is a growing demand for nutritional supplements and vitamins in Europe. This trend is driven by rising consumer awareness. Consumers are looking for new ways to improve their health and immune system. The ageing population and the rise in chronic diseases within Europe are raising interest in preventive health care.

Turmeric is gaining popularity on the European market. It is used in nutritional supplements because of its numerous beneficial properties. Turmeric is also used in some other types of complementary and alternative medicine.

Figure 2 shows that the European market for vitamins and supplements market declined from 2018-2020. However, the market is expected to grow from 2021-2025. The market is driven by growing health-consciousness among consumers.

The global complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) market was worth USD 69.2 billion in 2019, with it expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.9 percent by 2027. The popularity of complementary and alternative medicine is also rising in Europe, with it having the second largest market. Turmeric is commonly used to treat health problems in Europe. The more affluent patients are likely to use CAM procedures as a complementary treatment to conventional medicine.

In 2016, Mintel named turmeric a superfood to watch due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. A number of new products containing turmeric have been launched. In March 2019, Naturex launched its Turmipure Gold supplement. It is marketed as the first bioequivalent turmeric at a relatively low dose. More innovation is expected in future.

Around 80 percent of the world’s turmeric is grown in India. Figure 3 shows the leading exporting countries of turmeric in 2019.

The share of imports of turmeric from outside of the EU reached 82 percent in 2019. India is the main exporting country to Europe. India is expected to keep its leading position in the foreseeable future. However, the supply of turmeric is likely to be vulnerable to volatile weather conditions in India.

Figure 4 and 5 shows that from 2015 to 2019, European imports of turmeric increased in both volume and value. It shows the volume of turmeric imports to Europe increased by over 69 percent and by over 73 percent in terms of value over this period. A major driver for growing demand for turmeric is the increasing life-expectancy of the European population. The growing number of health-conscious customers in Europe is also driving growth. Another factor is the increasing popularity of ethnic cuisine in which turmeric is used.

Tips:

3. Which European countries offer the most opportunities for turmeric?

The most attractive European countries for turmeric are the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Poland. These countries are the leading importers of turmeric to Europe. The imports to these countries have been steadily increasing. This trend is expected to continue.

Table 1 gives the leading importing markets for turmeric in Europe. It shows a rise in imports from 2015 to 2019.

Table 1: Leading importers of turmeric to Europe, 2015-2019

2019

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2015-2019)

 mEUR

% Change Value (2015-2019)

Exporters

Important Market Players

 

UK

8.8

124%

13.1

89%

India (95.1%)

Ceratec SARL, OLVEA

 
 

Germany

5.0

72%

11.8

90%

India (70%), Netherlands (13.3%)

Jan Dekker/ IMCD, More Natural

 
 

Netherlands

4.8

72%

9.1

81%

India (70.2%), Peru (20.0%)

AAK, Opella

 

France

2.0

36%

5.6

43%

India (56.8%), Spain (13.1%)

Nexira, Curcumaxx

 
 

Spain

1.9

2%

3.3

41%

India (68.1%), Peru (11.9%)

Productos La Constancia S.L.

 

Poland

1.3

94%

2.6

116%

India (50.3%), Netherlands (25.8%), Germany (19.2%)

GROTEX, AGREMA POLAND SP. Z O.O.

 
 

Source: Eurostat

UK

The UK is the leading importer of turmeric in Europe. From 2015-2019, British imports of turmeric increased in volume and value. The volume of turmeric imported to the UK reached over 8,800 tonnes in 2019. Over the same period, the value of turmeric imports increased by 89 percent. In 2019, more than 95 percent of British imports of turmeric came from outside of the EU, with India being the leading exporter.

The British food supplements market is growing, with IRI stating that the market size reached GBP 424 million in 2018. Around 59 percent of British consumers take supplements. The UK has a very prospective market for turmeric for health products, as it has one of the largest European consumer markets. Some of the leading suppliers of turmeric supplements are Pukka Herbs and Global Product. There are also a few supplement contract manufacturers in the UK; the Supplement Factory is one such company. The leading importer of turmeric is Natco Foods.

The UK is expected to remain an important market for turmeric in the coming years. Brexit (Britain’s exit from the European Union) is very likely to disrupt international supply chains. In particular, in a no-deal scenario where a deal is not reached with the EU, as it will likely take some time to renegotiate trade deals with developing countries.

Germany

Germany is the second-largest European importer of turmeric. The volume and value of German imports of turmeric increased from 2015 to 2019. Over this period, the volume of German turmeric imports increased by 72 percent. During the same time period, the value increased by 90 percent. In 2019, nearly 81 percent of German imports of turmeric came from outside the EU, with this share staying roughly the same since 2015.

According to IQVIA, sales of dietary supplements in German pharmacies in 2019 amounted to EUR 2.2 billion sales, with them increasing by a yearly average of 5.8 percent since 2014. Germany has the largest consumer market in Europe. German consumers have high levels of health-consciousness. Important suppliers of turmeric supplements are Govinda, Nu3 and Nature Love. German importers and traders sourcing turmeric include Dr. Behr GmbH and Bio Import Europa.

Germany is expected to remain an important market for turmeric. Sales of supplements in Germany have been increasing in 2020. Demand for health products and supplements is expected to continue rising in the coming years. At the same time, demand for organic products is also growing in Germany. Exporters of turmeric in developing countries should therefore target German buyers.

The Netherlands

Between 2015 and 2019, Dutch imports of turmeric increased in volume and value. Dutch imports of turmeric increase by 72 percent between 2015 and 2019. Over the same period, the value of turmeric imports increased by 81 percent. In 2019, nearly 92 percent of Dutch imports of turmeric came from outside the EU, with this share staying roughly the same since 2015. In 2019, India and Peru were the two largest exporters of turmeric to the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is an important entry point for ingredients to Europe, thus offering an opportunity to exporters of turmeric in developing countries. Tradin Organic is a leading importer of organic turmeric. Supplements manufacturers that use turmeric include Forward Farma and Vitabay.

Dutch buyers tend to re-export ingredients to other European countries; exporters of turmeric in developing countries should therefore target Dutch buyers. It is expected that the demand for turmeric from the Netherlands will continue to rise, as the popularity of turmeric supplements is increasing in Europe.

France

French turmeric imports increased in both volume and value from 2015 to 2019. Over this period, the volume of imports increased by 36 percent. During the same time period, the value increased by 43 percent. In 2019, 67.5 percent of French turmeric imports came from extra-EU trade, a 7.4 percent decrease from 2015. India was the largest exporter of turmeric to France in 2019.

The French food supplement market reached EUR 1.9 billion in 2019, with a growth of 1.3 percent from 2018. In 2020, the French food supplement market grew, and it is expected to continue growing in the coming years. The global coronavirus is an important driver of growth. France has one of the largest consumer markets in Europe and is also a leading importer of raw materials to Europe. Nexira and Jacarandas are significant importers of turmeric. A leading French manufacturer of turmeric health products is Curcumaxx.

French demand for turmeric is expected to increase in the coming years. Drivers for this include the demand for high-quality natural products and rising health-consciousness in France.

Spain

From 2015-2019, Spanish imports of turmeric increased in volume and value. Over this period, the volume of Spanish imports increased by 2 percent. Meanwhile, the value of Spanish imports of turmeric increased by 41 percent. Around 86.8 percent of Spanish turmeric imports in 2019 came from extra-EU trade, an increase of 22.4 percent from 2015. With a share of 68.1 percent, India was the largest exporter of turmeric to Spain in 2019.

In 2018, the Spanish nutritional supplements market (Spanish language only) was valued at EUR 920 million in 2018 by the Association of Dietetic and Food Supplement Companies (AFEPADI). Around 30 percent of the Spanish population consume some type of nutritional supplements. Solgar is the main producer of turmeric supplements in Spain. Importers include Productos La Constancia S.L. Spanish demand for turmeric increased from 2015-2019, and it is expected to increase in the coming years.

Poland

Polish imports of turmeric increased significantly in terms of both volume and value from 2015-2019. Over this period, the volume of Polish turmeric imports increased by 94 percent. The value of Polish turmeric imports increased by 116 percent to reach almost EUR 2.6 in 2019.

Poland has the largest consumer market in Eastern Europe. In 2019, Poland’s dietary supplement market was valued at around EUR 1.9 billion, an almost three-fold increase since 2007. In the next few years, the market is expected to increase annually by 5 percent. Important Polish traders are Grotex and Agrema Poland. Poland has a robust manufacturing sector. Leading contract manufacturers include Tifarm, BioCorpo, DDB and Tantus.

Polish demand for turmeric is expected to increase in the coming years. Rising consumer awareness and demand for natural products are key drivers behind this.

Western European countries are the most prospective for exporters of turmeric in developing countries. Poland is also a prospective market for exporters of turmeric from developing countries, due to its large supplement market, which is expected to grow in the coming years. Western European countries have the largest consumer markets. In addition, Western European countries also have the largest nutritional supplement markets, along with robust processing sectors.

Tips:

  • Target Western European countries, as they offer the most opportunities to exporters of turmeric in developing countries.
  • Consider obtaining organic certification for your turmeric, because there is increasing consumer demand for organic products in Europe.
  • Advertise your turmeric on online platforms, because this is where many small buyers order turmeric in bulk according to their needs. Alibaba and Go4WorldBusiness are two examples of online platforms.

Increasing demand for organic turmeric and innovation in the turmeric sector makes Europe a prospective market for exporters of turmeric in developing countries. In addition, the global coronavirus has created new opportunities in Europe for exporters. However, climate change and unstable weather conditions, which increases turmeric prices, poses a threat to the supply of turmeric to Europe.

Increasing demand for organic turmeric

Demand for organic turmeric is increasing in the European market, and it is expected to continue growing in the coming years. This is supported by one European buyer of turmeric, who stated in an interview that “organic has become an industry standard”, with its demand “always increasing”. This trend is driven by increasing consumer awarness and willigness to pay for high-quality products. In addition, European demand for organic foods and plant-based supplements is also increasing.

Industry sources have suggested adulteration as one of the main food safety issues for turmeric from India, which is the leading exporter of turmeric to the European market. Turmeric adulteration is not confined only to India, with it also being an issue in other developing countries exporting turmeric to the European market. Quality and contamination are therefore two major issues for European buyers of turmeric.

To capitalise on the opportunites, exporters of turmeric in developing should consider obtaining EU organic certfication as certified organic products are a sign of quality, traceability and sustainability. In addition, having organic certfication gives exporters an advanatge in a competitive market as it makes them stand out.

To further capitalise on this opportunity, exporters should display the certification they have aquired on their company website and marketing materials, such as their product catalogue. Suminter India Organics is an example of a company in a developing country that has capitalised on this trend. In addition, exporters should inform prosepctive buyers about the certfication they hold when approaching them to further capitalise on this opportunity.

Figure 7: Logo EU organic certfication

The official Organic label for organic products in Europe

Tips:

  • Visit the IFOAM website for further information on EU organic certification.
  • Prepare and be ready to provide European buyers with a Certificate of Inspection, because its absence means your natural ingredient cannot be traded as organic on the European market.

Turmeric production threatened by climate change

Climate change is affecting the production of many agricultural crops, including turmeric. Experts have revealed that some of the biggest pressures on the turmeric industry are around climate change, particularly more extreme weather patterns, flooding, hurricanes and droughts. In India, the planting season of turmeric usually starts in May. However, changing rain patterns sometimes delay planting until August. Droughts also affect the soil quality and the amount of water in the storage systems.

These changes have an adverse effect on the growth of the turmeric plant and its yields. This situation puts pressure on producers and can lead to rising turmeric prices on the international market. Flooding also presents risks to the turmeric supply. In 2019, some of the major turmeric-producing parts of India were hit by floods. It is estimated that around 5,000 tonnes in crops were lost.

Ways to prepare for the threats posed by climate change include switching to more sustainable methods of production, as this makes crops more resilient to extreme weather conditions. Having a plan and being prepared, conserving water, saving soil and planting trees are other ways to prepare for the threats posed by climate change.

Tips:

  • Contact government ministries for climate and / or agriculture in your country and find out if they offer assistance when switching to more sustainable methods of production and preparing for climate change.
  • Consider obtaining certification such as ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems, as it shows that you uphold environmental responsibilities.

Innovation in the turmeric sector

Demand for high-quality products and natural ingredients on the European market is encouraging turmeric innovation. Ingredient companies are always looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of ingredients and products. As a result, the applications of turmeric and turmeric-derived ingredients are increasing, something that is expected to continue in the future.

In March 2019, Naturex launched its Turmipure Gold supplement; its high rate of bioavailability is one of its main advantages. According to a scientific study, 300 mg of Turmipure Gold can deliver more curcuminoids than 1500 mg of standard turmeric. In June 2020, the UK health food retail chain Holland & Barrett launched the first commercially available effervescent product containing Pharmako Biotechnologies' HydroCurc, called Vitaboost Turmeric. The novel product provides a higher efficacy at lower dosages and it is meant to improve joint health and the immune system.

Turmeric has been gaining popularity among European consumers, while buyers and manufacturers are familiar with its beneficial properties. Ingredient companies are likely to capitalise on its popularity and develop turmeric-derived ingredients with higher levels of effectiveness.

To capitalise on this trend, exporters of turmeric in developing countries should familiarise themselves with beneficial properties turmeric offers the health products industry as this is a major reason behind increasing turmeric innovation. For example, turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties.

Following this, exporters should inform European buyers about their turmeric’s beneficial properties when approaching them. They should also display this information on the company website and marketing materials. Doing so makes turmeric more appealing to European buyers.

Tip:

  • Clearly inform European buyers about turmeric’s active properties when approaching them, as it is likely to increase your chances of entering the European market.

Increasing demand for immune boosting supplements

There has been growing consumer demand for health products in Europe since spring 2020, especially immunity boosting supplements. This is expected to be a long-term trend. Exporters of turmeric in developing countries should therefore capitalise on opportunities offered by this trend.

The global coronavirus pandemic is one of the main factors driving this trend, as consumers seek to boost their immune system. Several natural ingredients for health products contain beneficial health properties that can help to boost the immune system. Turmeric’s curcumin content makes it one such natural ingredient, because curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties that help boost immunity.

To capitalise on the opportunities, exporters of turmeric in developing countries should ensure their turmeric contains the highest levels of active properties, such as curcumin content. Exporters should also be prepared to send samples to prospective buyers, because buyers assess samples to determine if they meet their quality standards and requirements. To further capitalise on this trend, exporters should highlight their turmeric’s strengths in their marketing materials, as this makes their product more attractive.

Tips:

  • Focus on turmeric’s active properties when approaching European buyers. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties are good selling points when approaching buyers, as consumers are looking at natural ingredients / products to improve their health.
  • Always send European buyers turmeric samples that are of the highest quality, as this improves your chances of doing business with them. Following this, always continue to send a high-quality, consistent product, because European buyers expect this.

This study has been carried out on behalf of CBI by Ecovia Intelligence.

Please review our market information disclaimer.

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