Here’s why you should consider spices as a business

Considering spices as a business is an idea that many entrepreneurs have worked on.

As a spice hub, Sri Lanka has an ancient legacy that even today, is valid. Ceylon cinnamon and pepper are known as some of the celebrated spices of the world as far as the 15th Century.

Did you know that over 90% of the spice and related products made in Sri Lanka are consumed by the global food and beverage industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the personal care product industry?

Spices are exported as we speak to many countries around the world.

In November 2021, exports from Sri Lanka reached a new high of USD 1,211.5 million, up 54.6 percent year on year, boosted by sales of industrial products (56.6 percent), particularly textiles and garments (52.7 percent), rubber products (49 percent), petroleum products (177.7%), and food, beverages, and tobacco (50.6 percent). Agricultural product shipments grew 46.9%, with tea (22.3%) and spices (38.1%) leading the way, while mineral product shipments increased 49 percent. Sri Lanka’s Central Bank is the source of this information.

Spices – The Global Market

The spice market has two main segments—whole or ground and derivatives. The market
can also be segmented by spice—black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and many

Here are the statistics.

• Pepper. In 1999, 262,000 metric tons (MT) of pepper worth US$1.2 billion was
traded.4 The principal primary exporters were India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and

– Sri Lanka’s exports amounted to only 1.4 percent of world exports.

Leading the world with the finest cinnamon –

• Sri Lankan cinnamon is recognized as the world’s finest and is used widely.

More than 90,000 MT of cinnamon worth nearly US$120 million were sold in the world, China and Indonesia supplying the most volume in the form of Cinnamon Cassia.

But the best Cinnamon Verum known as the true cinnamon, comes only from Sri Lanka and has been prized for its distinctive flavour and taste.

Ceylon cinnamon represented more than 40 percent of the total value of the global cinnamon trade.

Leading the world in cloves –

Sri Lanka also maintains a global presence with cloves, although exports only stood at 11%.

Cardamom and nutmeg – opportunities for export –

Cardamom, nutmeg and mace are other premium Sri Lankan spices that find ready made global markets. Nearly 49,000 MT of these spices, with a value of $230
million were traded from Guatemala, Indonesia,Grenada, and other countries in South Asia.

Sri Lanka exported more than 2 % of the volume and less than 2 % of total value.
Adding in more than 170,000 MT of other spices worth $400 million, world trade in spices
amounted to 600,000 MT worth slightly more than $2 billion in 1999.

Opportunity for entrepreneurs with spices –

As we have seen here, Sri Lankan spices offer ample opportunities for exports and local market.

Considering spices as a business is an idea that has always been appealing.

The most important thing is to source quality spices and source markets.

Understanding the industry and connecting with farming communities where spices are grown, are also advantageous.

Doing your own research online will help you find the markets that need the products – there are niche markets such as vegan and speciality shops which are tremendously popular in the world right now.

Spices as a business is a growing industry with a lot of potential.

Stay connected with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board which encourages spice exports and are supportive of entrepreneurship initiatives in this regard

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