Market Penetration

Herbs and spices share a common trade structure and distribution channels in International trade. Rarely a trader deals in herbs or spices separately. For the EU countries, the trade has been conducted through a small number of brokers and importers. However, direct trade between medium-sized and large producers in developing countries and processors in consuming markets are becoming   common. The emphasis is on high value of high quality and consistent products. Many parties are involved in importing the products into the EU countries which includes the agents or brokers, traders or importers, grinders or exporters and the end users (usually the industrial sector).  Currently, in Western Europe the numbers of brokers and traders have been reduced and various trading activities are now   carried out within one company.

The utilization of spices and herbs in the EU countries varies from one country to another. France, Spain and Italy consumed low amounts of dried herbs. In these countries they use fresh vegetables and wild mountain plants in their food preparations. However, it is now usual for many homes and restaurants trying out diverse foreign cuisines, thereby making the sales of spices such as cardamoms, cloves and coriander popular

In the industrial sector, many types of spices are used in the processing of meat, fish and canned products, soups, sauces, bakery products and prepared foods. Spices such as anise, badian and juniper are used in alcoholic drinks and liquors while ginger is used in soft drinks, biscuits and pickles. Pepper and mustard are used in savoury products and sauces while mint is used for flavouring in the confectionery industry.

EU countries are net importers of herbs and spices. Some of the imported raw materials undergo further processing, grinding and re-packaging and re-exported to the other EU countries and overseas at higher costs than the imported value. Spices and herbs originating in large amounts from the EU are paprika, saffron and caraway seeds.