Friday, October 30, 2009


Consumption of spices and condiments is thought to be a predominantly Indian phenomenon and global trade in these culinary adjuncts, some of them with health promoting properties, is dominated by India. From raw spices which were used extensively in house hold preparations, the industry has progressed significantly producing a variety of value added products which find extensive applications in formulated and processed foods. Essential oils and oleoresins from some of the spices and condiments like black pepper, red chilli, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, cumin, coriander etc are important ingredients in many packed foods on the market shelves world over. It was only recently that Chinese started using more condiments in their diets and the industry there is reported to be on a fast track of development

"Chinese condiment consumption increases year by year with the improvement of people's living standard and the rapid development of its primary sales channel – the catering industry. The sales revenues of Chinese condiment industry were RMB 38 billion in 2003, RMB 59 billion in 2004, RMB 61.4 billion in 2005 and RMB 68.647 billion in 2006 respectively".

While consumption of spices in a country like India is wide spread with the 'spice collection', an essential part of the kitchen store, in China the catering sector is the drive engine for the growth of spice and condiment industry. Similarly meat and poultry based preparations use them more widely in China and other countries while in India they are regularly used in day to day preparations, mostly in vegetarian foods. Probably China can take a lesson or two from India in developing their condiment industry through the new bilateral initiative being pursued for boosting trade. After all India produces about half of the global production of spices and condiments numbering about 70, valued at $ 4.2 billion while its share in the international trade is more than 86%.

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