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Spices and herbs market in the European Union

The European Union (EU) market is the second largest market for seasonings, spices and herbs in the world, accounting for Eoros 1.2 billion. Consumption of the spices and herbs  increased from 321 thousand tonnes in 2004 to 336 thousand tonnes in 2008, indicating moderate average annual growth. The leading consuming EU markets are the UK, Germany, Romania and Hungary, together accounting for 58%.

Types of spices and herbs

The spices and herbs in demand in the EU Market are; Pepper, Parsley, Paprika, Marjoram, Capsicum (chillies and cayenne pepper) Oregano, Pimento (allspice), Thyme, Coriander, Bay leaves, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Ginger, Basil, Nutmeg, Mint, Caraway, Savoury, Turmeric, Dill, Cumin, Tarragon, Cloves, Sage, Mace, Cardamom, Anise or badian seeds, Fenugreek, Saffron, Vanilla, Fennel seeds and Juniper berries.

Consumption and Trends

The consumption of spices and herbs is divided into three end-user segments mainly the following;

  • Industrial consumes for 55-60% of the total usage of spices and herbs.
  • Retail consumes 35-40%.
  • Catering sector 10-15%.

Important trends influencing the EU market for spices and herbs is due to increased demand for convenience foods which require the food industry to add the required flavours, extensive range of ready-to-use spice mixes, trend towards internationalization and increasing consumption of ethnic foods has created growing interest in spices.

European consumers have a strongly increased interest in a healthy lifestyle and, consequently, in the consumption of health food. For example, specific spices and herbs are replacing sugars and salts, as well as artificial additives. Herbal teas are also becoming increasingly popular. The market for organic food as well as Fair Trade food is increasing.

Trade pattern

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 the crude form is grinded, processed and packaged for export to other EU and overseas markets. In 2008, total exports of spices and herbs by EU member countries amounted to 222 thousand tonnes, representing a value of Euro 713 million.

Where can you get the buyers?

Importers, buyers and suppliers are often sourced at trade fairs such as the BioFach, Anuga, SIAL and FI Europe. Kenyan exporters can also get contacts of importers from the Export Promotion Council through the export leads data bases and importers directories. Brokers also offer an important function in market linking, while websites offer another opportunity to find trade partners.

 
 
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