Demand for high quality and sustainability is shaping the European spices and herbs market

European demand for spices and herbs is increasing, according to the latest CBI Trends study on spices and herbs. Demand for spices is also increasing globally, especially in Asia. China and India, which were traditionally European suppliers, are becoming the main spice importers because their domestic crop cannot meet domestic demand. As a result, there is a difference between Chinese and Indian markets compared to European markets. Whereas China and India import cheap products, European importers are looking for higher-quality products.

Currently, a lot of spices are imported into India, China and Vietnam from Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and other South-East Asian countries. Some of those spices are imported to satisfy domestic demand, while others are mixed with the domestic production and re-exported to Europe or the USA. Although European imports of spices are increasing, there is a global scarcity of high-quality and sustainably produced spices. This means that high-quality and sustainably produced spices and herbs can provide opportunities for suppliers in developing country.

Sustainable production and sourcing

Important sustainability issues in spices relate to pesticide residues and inadequate drying methods, leading to, among other things, aflatoxin problems. In order to improve sustainable production and sourcing of spices, a group of companies and organisations formed the Sustainable Spice Initiative. This initiative has been followed by many other activities. For example, in May 2018, the Dutch Spices association was one of the parties that signed the agreement to work towards a more sustainable production chain in the food industry. The resulting activities based on this agreement will focus on developing countries where human rights, worker health and safety, and the environment may be at risk.

CBI is also one of the initiatives promoting sustainable growth, sustainable practices and cooperation with the European market. At the next world’s leading food industry event (ANUGA), CBI will present current trends and developments in the spices and herbs market in Europe and introduce their services to a broader audience. Also, CBI will release three new public market studies this year, for ginger, dried chillies and curcuma.

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