That dollar amount results from a 3.7% gain from $3.71 billion in 2021 and an 11% increase compared to $3.21 billion for 2018.
The top 5 spices exports by overall sales are crushed or ground peppercorn, pepper, spice mixtures, turmeric and cinnamon. Collectively, those exported spice commodities represent over fourth-fifths (81.6%) of spices sold on international markets.
In addition to total export sales, this article delves into which major spices are the biggest exports in terms of the most valuable based on unit value per ton shipped as well as shipment weight.
For research purposes, the Harmonized System (HS) codes for crushed or ground: peppercorn is 090422, spice mixtures is 091091, turmeric is 091030, pepper is 090412, saffron is 091020, cinnamon is 090620, ginger is 090620, vanilla is 090520, nutmeg is 090812, cardamoms is 090832, cumin seeds is 090932, coriander seeds is 090922, and cloves is 090720.
Top Exported Spices by Global Sales
Listed below are the most valuable spice exports in 2022 ranked by total sales for each product category.
Also shown is percentage that each entry represents based on the overall value of crushed or ground exported spices.
- Turmeric: US$1.3 billion (36.8% of global total)
- Peppercorn: $546.8 million (15.4%)
- Vanilla: $494.8 million (13.9%)
- Nutmeg $333 million (9.3%)
- Saffron: $219.7 million (6.2%)
- Cloves $188.6 million (5.3%)
- Ginger: $117.2 million (3.3%)
- Spice mixtures: $98.4 million (2.8%)
- Cumin seeds: $76.8 million (2.2%)
- Coriander seeds $68.5 million (1.9%)
- Cinnamon: $50.4 million (1.4%)
- Cardamoms: $41.2 million (1.2%)
- Pepper $15.9 million (0.4%)
In terms of revenue, the fastest-growing spice exports are peppercorn (up 22.6% from 2021), pepper (up 14.3%) and spice mixtures (up 8.8%).
The severest decliners were the international sales for cloves (down by -34.6% from 2021), the mint-like spice cardamoms (down -32.2%) used for sweet and savoury dishes particularly in Asia, coriander seeds (down -19.8%), vanilla (down -19.6%) and cumin seeds (down -10.6%).
Most Valuable Exported Spices by Unit Value
The most valuable spices as measured by average unit price per ton shipped.
The average unit value for the spices categories presented in this article is US$26,618 per ton in 2022. The average unit value for spices inflated by 90.8% compared to an average $13,952 one year earlier for 2021.
Ranked in descending order, listed below are the spices with the highest unit values in 2022.
- Saffron: US$203,199 per ton (Up 271.6% from 2021)
- Vanilla: $62,649 (Up 24.6%)
- Cardamoms: $16,367 (Down -8.3%)
- Nutmeg $11,283 (Up 6.1%)
- Cinnamon: $9,512 (Up 38.4%)
- Cloves $7,788 (Down -8.2%)
- Pepper $7,091 (Up 19.7%)
- Turmeric: $6,680 (Up 23.6%)
- Spice mixtures: $6,274 (Up 24.9%)
- Ginger: $5,575 (Down -15.3%)
- Peppercorn: $4,848 (Up 85.7%)
- Cumin seeds: $2,935 (Down -46%)
- Coriander seeds $1,837 (Up 15.5%)
A pair among the listed posted unit values higher than the worldwide average of $26,618 per ton. The world’s costliest spice as measured by unit price are saffron well head of second-place vanilla.
Among the greatest gains in unit value per ton were generated by saffron (up 271.6% from 2021), peppercorn (up 85.7%), cinnamon (up 38.4%), spice mixtures (up 24.9%), vanilla (up 24.6%) and turmeric (up 23.6%).
Enduring declines in unit value per ton were cumin seeds (down -46% since 2021), ginger (down -15.3%), cardamoms (down -8.3%) then cloves (down -8.2%).
The trio of leading saffron exporters are Iran, Spain and Afghanistan. Those 3 countries were responsible for 82.3% of the total value of crushed or ground spices during 2022.
Biggest Exports of Spices by Weight
Shifting our focus to the weight of spice shipments, a total 3.15 million tons in crushed or ground spices were exported during 2022.
In terms of weight, globally exported spices accelerated by 178.8% year over year compared to $1.13 million tons during 2021.
- Peppercorn: 648,024 tons (Up 33.9% from 2021)
- Pepper 620,806 tons (Up 1,050%)
- Cinnamon: 555,441 tons (Up 1,712%)
- Nutmeg 519,559 tons (Up 6,161%)
- Turmeric: 275,883 tons (Up 24.5%)
- Spice mixtures: 270,045 tons (Up 120.4%)
- Ginger: 146,719 tons (Up 21.1%)
- Cloves 43,288 tons (Up 2,491%)
- Coriander seeds 27,414 tons (Down -12%)
- Cumin seeds: 26,154 tons (Up 4.1%)
- Saffron: 7,933 tons (Down -66.6%)
- Cardamoms: 4,232 tons (Up 24.4%)
- Vanilla: 1,940 tons (Up 14.3%)
The 5 heaviest shipments of spices by tonnage are comprised of peppercorn, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and turmeric which is a key ingredient in curry powder. Collectively, that quintet of major spices represents 83.2% of all spices shipped by weight in 2022.
The 3 fastest weight increases from 2021 to 2022 were posted by: nutmeg (up 6,161% from 2021), cloves (up 2,491%) and cinnamon (up 1,712%).
There was a pair of decliners in shipment weight, namely saffron (down -66.6% from 2021) and coriander seeds (down -12%) sometimes called Chinese parsley.
Another member of the parsley family, cumin seeds recorded the most modest increase via a 4.1% gain.
By total shipment weight, the top 3 suppliers of exported peppercorn are China, Spain and India. That trio was responsible for 78.1% of the total weight of crushed or ground spices shipped during 2022.
See also Top Garlic Exports by Country, Top Ginger Exporters by Country, Onions Exports by Country, Top Pickles Exporters by Country and Top Salt Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on September 18, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 18, 2023
Wikipedia, Saffron. Accessed on September 18, 2023
Wikipedia, Spice. Accessed on September 18, 2023
Wikipedia, Turmeric. Accessed on September 18, 2023