EU Market Survey on Herbs and Spices
This market survey provides exporters of spices and herbs in developing countries with a wide range of facts, figures and information with respect to the European Union (EU) market. 

The emphasis of this survey lies on those products which are of importance to developing country suppliers. Besides, where relevant and if information is available, this study will focus on organic spices and herbs on the EU market.  For detailed market survey as well as country specific reports visit http://www.cbi.eu/marketinfo  or our libraries at our offices in Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret.

Consumption and Trends

The EU market is the largest market for spices and herbs in the world with apparent consumption increasing from 265 thousand tonnes in 2003 to 321 thousand tonnes in 2007, indicating a reasonable growth.
The leading consuming country in EU is Germany, accounting for almost one fifth of total EU spice consumption, followed by the UK, Romania and Hungary.
The leading spices consumed are pepper, paprika and allspice (pimento), while leading herbs include thyme and oregano.
The spices and herbs market in EU can be divided into three end-user segments namely;

i.The industrial (55-60%)
ii.The retail (35-40%)
iii.The catering sector (10-15%).
Trends influencing and driving the consumption of spices and herbs in the EU market are:
i.Internationalisation and increasing consumption of ethnic foods has created growing interest in spices. A broad selection of spices can be found in today’s consumer kitchen.
ii.Consideration of spices and herbs by consumers as completely natural ingredients, rather than artificial additives.
iii.Increased interest in a healthy lifestyle and consumption of healthy foods by European consumers. For example, herbal teas are becoming increasingly popular.
iv.Increasing market for organic food. However, the mainstream retail market for organic spices and herbs is likely to remain relatively small until supermarket chains offer a full range of organic spices and herbs.
Opportunities Kenya exporters of spices & herbs lie in the following fields:
i.Ready-to-use segments, like pizzas, sauces and other convenience food.
ii.Health-food sector, for example, organic spices & herbs and herbal teas.
iii.New authentic varieties of mixed spices and herbs, like pimento, chillies, allspice (Jamaican pepper), etc.

Production of Herbs and Spices in EU

Few spices are produced in the EU. According to FAOSTAT data (2008), total EU production of spices amounted to 124 thousand tonnes in 2007, of which 62% consisted of paprika, for the largest part produced in Hungary and Romania. The production of spice seeds accounted for 33% and the remaining 5% were spices not elsewhere classified.
The most commonly grown herbs in the EU countries are: basil, bay leaves, celery leaves, chives, coriander, dill tips, chervil, juniper, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, savoury, tarragon, thyme and water cress.

France, Italy and Greece are important producers of dried herbs, despite their low consumption.

Imports and exports

Total EU imports of spices and herbs amounted to € 988 million in 2007, an increase of 4%. However, in volume terms, imports increased by a steady average annual growth rate of 5% to 397 thousand tonnes in 2007.

Leading EU importers of spices and herbs are Germany, The Netherlands, the UK, France and Spain. These are also the countries with the highest imports from developing countries.

Most West European countries showed increasing volumes of imports supplied by developing countries. On the other hand, most East European countries lowered their imports from developing countries in favour of intra-EU imports.

Pepper is the largest product group imported representing 27% of total EU imports of spices and herbs, followed by paprika (19%), mixtures (10%), spice seeds (7%) and nutmeg, mace & cardamom (6%).

The product groups with the highest shares of import from developing countries are saffron, turmeric, ginger, pepper and vanilla.

The EU is a net importer of spices and herbs.

A large part of the EU export trade consists of spices and herbs which are imported in bulk or in crude form, thereafter go through process of grinding, processing and/or repackaging, and then are re-exported to other EU and overseas markets.

In 2007, total exports of spices and herbs by EU member countries amounted to 200 thousand tonnes, representing a value of € 616 million. Both export value and volume both decreased between 2003 and 2005 but increased afterwards, resulting in moderate average annual growth rates.

Trade structure

Spices and herbs normally have the same trade structure and distribution channels and very few traders deal exclusively in either spices or herbs.
The bulk of the trade enters the EU through a small number of major brokers and traders/importers. In the past few years, direct trade between medium-sized and large producers/exporters in developing countries and grinders/processors in consuming markets has become more prevalent.

Both importers and processors increasingly move away from dealing with many small growers, choosing instead to deal with whoever combines high quality, high volume and consistent products.

Typically, the main parties involved in the distribution of spices and herbs are:
i.    Agents / brokers
ii.    Traders / importers
iii.    Grinders / processors
iv.    End users (mainly the industrial sector)

The functional distinctions between the different types of traders described above have become blurred in recent years, because of structural changes in the trade and a decline in the number of brokers and traders in Western Europe as a whole.
Different types of trading activity are often carried out at the same time within one company.

For more information, please also refer to the additional CBI document ‘From Survey to Success’ which assists developing country exporters in how to evaluate whether or not to become involved in international business, and to learn how to go about exporting to the EU.
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