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The European market potential for dried ginger

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Europe is an interesting and growing market for exporters of dried ginger. The demand is expected to grow in the coming years and prices are slowly rising. The most interesting markets are the top three markets in Europe: the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. These countries import huge volumes of ginger from developing countries, which makes them good focus markets. In addition, also Italy and Spain could be interesting for reasons of size and direct imports coming from Developing Countries.

1. Product description

Ginger is the irregularly shaped root (rhizome) of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale). The plant is cultivated in the tropics. The main producing countries are China and India, while production also takes place in Nigeria, Thailand, Peru, Brazil, and Myanmar. A total  of more than 3 million metric tonnes is produced worldwide each year.

Ginger is mainly used in:

  • oriental and Indian cooking;
  • bakery and confectionery products;
  • liqueurs.

This fact sheet focuses only on dried ginger (both whole and crushed/ground). Fresh ginger is not included in this fact sheet, since it belongs to the fresh fruit and vegetables market (note that most fresh ginger is partly dehydrated to 70% moisture content before shipping). It is included in our studies of Fresh fruit and vegetables. The markets for fresh and dried ginger are closely connected and more fresh ginger than dried ginger is exported. Drying of fresh ginger generally takes place in the countries of origin.

Within the Combined Nomenclature (CN) classification, dried ginger is covered under the following codes.

  • 0910.1100: ginger, neither crushed nor ground
  • 0910.1200: ginger, crushed or ground

Note that fresh ginger is also traded under the 09.10.1100 code. This means that the statistics presented in this study incorporate fresh ginger. Where this study refers to ‘Europe’, this includes the 27 member states of the European Union, plus the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Norway.

2. What makes Europe an interesting market for dried ginger?

Growing imports of dried ginger in Europe

The worldwide consumption of ginger is forecast to continue to grow in the next 3-5 years. This is mainly because ginger is a healthy ingredient (see “Search for healthier ingredients”). Especially in the winter of 2016-2017, the European demand for ginger peaked due to the cold weather. Consumers buy ginger during the winter mainly because they use it to relieve a sore throat or flu symptoms. And as new COVID19 variants continue to emerge, the demand for such natural remedies remains high.

The growing ginger market in Europe provides opportunities for you as an exporter. Buyers are increasingly willing to invest in long-term relationships or collaborations with their suppliers to ensure sufficient supplies. In 2020, direct imports of dried ginger from developing countries to Europe totalled 152 thousand tonnes. Since 2016, the import volume has increased by 8.5% annually. In that same period, the (direct) import values increased by more than 16% annually, totalling €310 million in 2020.

In 2020, more than 70% of total imports to Europe were sourced directly from developing countries. Re-exports to Europe accounted for almost 30% of total imports in 2020.

Tips:

  • Learn more about the European ginger market, as it has grown considerably in the past years and is expected to grow further. Carefully read all the information presented in the factsheet and translate it into an action plan for your company.
  • Remember that fresh ginger and dried ginger are traded under the same code (09.10.1100). This means that the statistics presented in this section also incorporate fresh ginger.

3. Which European countries offer most opportunities for dried ginger?

Together, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany form the top three (of a total of six) markets considered to be most interesting for dried ginger in Europe. The Netherlands ranks first only because the country is an important European trade hub for spices, while the UK and Germany are actually the two largest consumer markets in Europe for dried ginger. The UK is traditionally the largest market in Europe because of the large Asian diaspora living in the country; they typically consume a lot of ginger.

In Germany, but also in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and France, the market has grown considerably in recent years because of the increasing popularity of ginger as a healthy ingredient in dishes and other foods or drinks, such as fruit and nut bars and tea. Although mentioned last, tea is certainly not the smallest market for ginger. On the contrary, in recent years ginger tea has become very popular across Europe. While the fresh ginger market benefited from this trend tremendously, also the dried ginger market growth can be partly attributed to the growing use of ginger tea.

Additionally, it is worthwhile to mention that two of the “larger” small importers increasingly imported ginger directly from developing countries during the period under review: Austria , the Czech Republic and Portugal saw increases of 68%, 42% and 113%, respectively, per year . These countries might also be interesting for you.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is the largest importer and trader of ginger in Europe by far. Its imports increased in volume by 10.3% annually between 2016 and 2020. In 2019, more than 96% of Dutch imports came directly from developing countries. The country is the leading trade hub for spices in Europe and therefore also the leading intra-European supplier of ginger within Europe.

The Netherlands has a particular high share of imports coming from Peru. In 2019, the Netherlands imported 7.5 thousand tonnes of ginger from Peru, and in 2020, this volume more than doubled to almost 16.5 thousand tonnes. This is roughly 50% of Peru’s total ginger exports and more than 75% of Peruvian ginger exports to Europe.

In 2020, imports from China dominated with 61 thousand tonnes. Imports from Brazil stabilised (10.4 thousand tonnes), as did imports from Nigeria (2.3 thousand tonnes). Imports from Thailand actually decreased from 1.4 to 0.7 thousand tonnes. The Netherlands imports only small amounts of ginger from other European countries: 1.2 thousand tons from Belgium and approximately 400 tonnes each from Germany and Italy.

The Netherlands has a tradition of spice trade, dating back hundreds of years. This tradition continues to this day, with Dutch exports of ginger totalling over 60 thousand tonnes. This amounts to almost 77% of the total import volumes of ginger to the Netherlands. The main destinations are all European countries with Germany ranking first (over 14 thousand tonnes and a share of 23%), followed by Poland (7.3 thousand tonnes), France (5 thousand tonnes), Belgium (3.5 thousand tonnes), Sweden (3.2 thousand tonnes), and Austria, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (between 2.3 and 2.4 thousand tonnes each).

In the Netherlands, sustainable sourcing of spices is strongly supported by the Dutch Spice Association. Among other things, the association offers a toolkit for their members that helps them to implement social responsibility guidelines in their supply chain. The toolkit includes a special module about child labour.

The United Kingdom

Since the United Kingdom sources more than 90% of its ginger from developing countries, it is an interesting market for ginger exporters. The country is also the second largest importer of ginger in Europe, which is probably the result of the relatively substantial population of Asian descent (Indians, Chinese). Because of the UK’s large Asian diaspora, the country has the highest per capita consumption of ginger in Europe.

74% of the ginger is imported directly from China. Brazil is the second biggest supplier, following China at a considerable distance (4.8%). The Netherlands and Germany rank third and fourth, respectively, with shares of 3.5 and 3.4%, respectively. While the UK does source ginger from these countries, its ginger also comes from India (729 tonnes in 2020), Peru (609 tonnes), Belgium (375 tonnes), Pakistan (363 tonnes), and Vietnam (294 tonnes).  

The export volume of the UK is rather limited compared to its import volume; it totalled ‘only’ 1,304 tonnes in 2020. The three leading export destinations are Germany (434 tonnes), Ireland (347 tonnes) and the Netherlands (189 tonnes). Other destinations import relatively small quantities.

Export volumes dropped in 2019, but the 2020 volume exceeded those recorded in both 2018 and 2019. It is assumed that uncertainties regarding Brexit were the main reason for this interruption.

Germany

Germany is the third largest importer of ginger. Its total import volume has increased by 9.3% annually since 2016, to a volume of 28 thousand tonnes in 2020. 37% of Germany’s imported ginger comes directly from developing countries.

Almost 58% (or 15 thousand tonnes) of the German import volume comes from the Netherlands, while the share of German imports originating from China is relatively large (20%). Peru is the third-largest supplier to Germany, accounting for 7.7% of Germany’s imports. Peru has surpassed Nigeria, which was the third-largest supplier in 2016, 2018 and 2019. Much smaller volumes come from a few other EU countries (Spain and the United Kingdom with around 800 tonnes each), India (350 tonnes), France (220 tonnes), Thailand (80 tonnes), and Indonesia (70 tonnes). With other countries such as Sri Lanka and Myanmar also supplying small volumes to Germany, Germany can be considered a very promising market for small ginger exporters.

Only 17% of the import volume is re-exported and this mostly goes to European countries. All of the key destinations are neighbouring countries (except for the USA), with Poland, the Netherlands, the USA, Czech Republic, and Austria accounting for shares of 22%, 20%, 8.2%, 6.5% and 6.1%, respectively.

German consumers are not very loyal to brands; instead many prefer to buy the cheapest or best price/quality product. This is also reflected by the above-average number of discount retail formulas in Germany. Despite this fact, the German supermarket shelves show quite a few spices and herbs brands, but several of them (Fuchs, Ostmann, Ubena) are owned by the same company and the clear market leader, Fuchs (website in German), with a 75% market share.

While being the largest spices manufacturer, Fuchs is also one of the more innovative companies in the segment. For example, the company recently launched “limited edition” spice ranges, an own online shop and also offers seasonal thematic items such as the spices – Advent Calendar.  Picture 1 shows an example of a spices and herbs shelf in one of the mainstream supermarkets. The spices and herbs shelves in German mainstream supermarkets are relatively large (6-10 meters) and offer a wide variety of products, packages and brands. Unlike in most other European countries, the product information on the package also includes the country of origin.

Figure 3: Spices and herbs shelf in a German mainstream supermarket

Herbs and spices shelf in a German mainstream supermarket

Spain, France and Italy

Spain, France and Italy are medium-sized importers of ginger in Europe. Their shares of direct imports are 77%, 32% and 59%, respectively. The strongest growth in direct imports from developing countries was registered by Spain (20% per year), followed by France (5.1%). From this data, it can be concluded that France  is a bit reluctant to import directly from developing countries, although there is an upward trend in direct imports. Overall, all three countries can be interesting target countries.

Spain’s import volume of 11 thousand tonnes in 2020 was more than double the volume recorded for 2016 (5 thousand tonnes). In that same period, direct imports from China grew sharply (from 3.4 to 4.7 thousand tonnes). The volume from Peru remained relatively stable from 2016 to 2018 (0.2 to 0.5 thousand tonnes), but increased sharply between 2018 and 2019 (0.5 to 1.5 thousand tonnes) and again between 2019 and 2020 (1.5 to 2.5 thousand tonnes).  

Other substantial direct imports came from Brazil (550 tonnes) and Nigeria (220 tonnes).  Intra‑European imports to Spain came predominantly from the Netherlands (1,510 tonnes in 2020) with imports from Germany (410 tonnes) and France (270 tonnes) lagging a considerable distance behind.

Spain’s export volume was 4.0 thousand tonnes in 2019 (equal to 33% of the import volume; the 2020 export volume is not available). The range of destinations changed over the 2016-2020 time period, but on average, the top destinations were France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Morocco, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

France is an important spices and herbs market in Europe with imports totalling 9 thousand tonnes in 2020. Only one-third of imports come directly from developing countries and most of that volume comes from China. From 2019 to 2020, the volume imported from China decreased significantly (from 2.2 thousand tonnes in 2019 to 1.7 thousand tonnes in 2020).

Italy shows some similarities with Spain. But where Spanish imports showed a strong growth (which is related to the market recovery after the several years of crisis that impacted the Spanish economy until 2014), in Italy, imports have decreased slightly since 2016, at a rate of 0.5% per year.

Italy’s main supplier is China. Chinese exports of ginger to Italy were relatively stable from 2016 to 2019, but there was a sharp drop in 2020 (450 tonnes to 2.8 tonnes). Exports to Italy from Brazil and Peru increased, from 560 tonnes in 2019 to 710 tonnes in 2020 and from 280 tonnes in 2019 to 440 tonnes in 2020.

Italy exports around one third (2,664 tonnes) of its import volume (7,302 tonnes). Italy’s exports grew significantly from 2019 to 2020, after years of remaining relatively stable. The main destinations for Italy’s exports are the Netherlands and Germany (666 and 580 tonnes, respectively), followed by France (416 tonnes) and the United Kingdom (243 tonnes).

Tips:

  • Remember that fresh ginger is also traded under the same code of 09.10.1100. This means that the statistics presented in this section also incorporate fresh ginger. The most important thing to take into account is that virtually all ginger from Brazil, a large share of Peruvian exports, and a substantial (at least 50%) part of Chinese ginger exports is fresh ginger.
  • Check the latest developments on ITC Trademap or the Indian Spices Board. ITC Trademap offers details of trade volumes and values, per year and per importing and exporting country. The Indian Spices Board’s data predominantly covers details of Indian production and exports.
  • Target leading Western European countries importing ginger from developing countries. The most interesting are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany, while Italy and Spain could also be interesting.
  • Consider also targeting smaller and fast-growing importers of ginger. Between 2016 and 2020, Austria, the Czech Republic and Portugal increasingly imported directly from developing countries. This shows that it is certainly possible to export directly to the smaller markets. Although the import volumes of those markets are smaller, they may still be interesting, in particular for small to medium-sized exporters.

Search for healthier ingredients

Consumers searching for healthier ingredients stimulate the growing demand for dried ginger on the European market. This is not a surprise, as healthy living is one of the most important trends in Europe. Consumers perceive food ingredients such as salt, sugar and synthetic additives as unhealthy. Other products that also add flavour, such as spices and herbs, increasingly replace these products. This trend is not only visible in food, but also cleaning products and cosmetics are increasingly based on spices and herbs, fruits, and plants.

The perceived health benefits of ginger are described, amongst others, in blogs, vlogs and health magazines. These publications often mention that ginger consumption helps with digestive problemsthe flu and stress. Due to its growing popularity, ginger is also increasingly used as a health supplement, as well as in other food products such as tea, beer and snacks. Examples are:

Figure 4: Organic ginger tea of the Alnatura brand, ginger from Peru.

Organic ginger tea of the Alnatura brand ginger from Peru

Source: Autentika Global

In addition, ginger is also increasingly used in aromatherapy and wellness, such as in hair care products, essential or massage oils and diffusers. Examples are:

In the last three years, many new products containing ginger appeared on the cold juices/beverages shelf, including ginger shots and syrups. One example is shown in figure 5.

Figure 5: Ginger-curcuma shot with Demeter certification.

Ginger and curcuma shot with Demeter certification

Source: Voelkel

Tips:

  • Focus on the application of your dried ginger in healthy product ranges.
  • Promote your product as a healthy ingredient and emphasise the benefits of your ginger in people’s diets.

Growing popularity of ethnic cuisines

The demand for ethnic food in Europe is rising. Since dried ginger is an important ingredient in Asian dishes, it is becoming increasingly popular on the European market.

Examples of Asian recipes that are popular in Europe and that contain ginger are:

Consumers who enjoy discovering new flavours, new cuisines, and exotic products, are also driving this development. This goes hand in hand with some other developments, such as:

  • An increase in global relations and communications. In the past decade, more Europeans travelled to Asian destinations and more foreigners came to Europe each year. Due to the pandemic, people travelled less in 2020, but also tried compensating for that by cooking exotic dishes at home that reminded them of previous holidays. Once the pandemic has ended, consumers are expected to travel again, but some of the new recipes they learned in 2020 will probably become part of their home cooking repertoire.
  • Growing consumption of so-called ‘superfoods’. Superfoods are ingredients with a particular benefit and ginger is considered to be one of them.
  • Ongoing popularity of TV cuisine programs or social media influencers like Master Chef encouraging cooking at home and experimenting with different products.
  • The increase of Asian (managed) restaurants Europe, which results in an increase of Europeans becoming acquainted with Asian dishes and flavours.

Because of all these developments, ginger has become a popular ingredient to use in the kitchen, in product development, and a popular topic to talk and write about.

Growing demand for organic certified spices and herbs

Sustainable sourcing is an important trend in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. As a supplier, you will be increasingly faced with sustainability requirements from your buyer. Many buyers see sustainable sourcing as a must. By certifying your ginger, you can proof your compliance with sustainable sourcing.

The global organic spice market was worth €17 billion in 2021 and is estimated to reach a (retail) valuation of almost €20 billion by 2026. This amounts to an annual growth rate of 7.5% between 2021 and 2026. North America and Europe are the largest markets for organic spices. Within Europe, the growth rate of organic spice consumption is forecast to be particularly high in Sweden and the UK (more than 5.5% per year over the next seven years).

Certified ginger is still a niche market, but at the same time, ginger, along with curcuma, cumin seeds and pepper, is among the most traded organic certified spices. Overall, most buyers in the mainstream market are unwilling to pay more for certified products. As a result, it is important to discuss the opportunities for certification with your buyers before you become certified.

One example of an exporter that has become very successful in exporting organic and fairtrade certified ginger to Europe, is the Peruvian cooperative La Campina. Take a look at their website. In the menu of webpage, you can already see that people are the most important for them, as “People” comes in the first place, and only then their products.

Tips:

  • Have a look at the website of FoodNavigator to learn more about food health trends and other developments in the food sector.
  • Do not make any health claims regarding the consumption of ginger if you cannot use reliable and scientific sources. European legislation is very strict in terms of health claims on consumer packaging.
  • See our study of Trends for spices and herbs  for more information on trends on the European market for spices and herbs.

This study has been carried out on behalf of CBI by Autentika Global.

Please review our market information disclaimer

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