The European Spice Sector
Herbs and spices are the ingredients used to give food and beverage products aroma, flavour, preservation, and colour.
These products are derived from various plant parts, including flowers, barks, fruits, buds, seeds, leaves, roots, and plant tops. The global herbs and spices market was valued at € 14,5 billion in 2019.
While Asia is the leading importer of spices with 47% of the market share, Europe is the second largest world’s importing region for spices as it accounts for about one quarter of the world’s total imports of spices.
In 2019 Europe imported around 25% (around 370.000 tons) of the global production, followed by North America (18%), Africa (5%), Latin America, the Caribbean (3%) and Oceania (2%). The dependence on spice imports from non-EU countries also means that intra-EU spice trade mainly consists of re-exports of spices that originally came from origin countries.
The European market of culinary herbs, instead, is less dependent on imports, as the majority of herbs consumed and processed in the EU are harvested in the European region. Dried herbs production mostly takes place in the Mediterranean Countries, and counts on production of parsley, basil, bay leaves, celery leaves, chives, coriander, dill tips, chervil, fennel, juniper, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savoury, tarragon and thyme.
Main user of culinary herbs and species is the food processing industry (70-80%), followed by the retail (15-25%) and the food service sector (5-10%).
In 2019 the EU herbs and spices industry generated a turnover of € 3,6 billion.
Source: European Spice Association (ESA)
Picture: European Space Agency (ESA)