Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Healthy Eating Causes Spice Industry Boom, But Could Climate Change Threaten Supplies?

Food

Although the nation's so-called "obesity epidemic" has no signs of waning, there's been a real movement in clean, healthy eating over heavily processed, artificially flavored food. Fast food sales are slumping and despite a recovering economy, Americans say they'll remain cooking food at home instead of dining out, even if they have more spending money. And with more people cooking in their own kitchens and spending less time looking at ingredient labels on packaged food, there's been a measured growth in the sale of spices, market trends indicate.

However there might be a price to pay for spice (but more on that later).

The spice market has boomed to a $5 billion industry, fueled by trends in healthy eating and home cooking.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

"The overall spice industry is growing mid to single digit type rates—let's call it 3-5 percent—whereas the packaged food guys are barely growing volumes or are slightly negative," research analyst Brian Yarbrough told Marketplace, adding that the U.S. spice and seasonings industry is roughly a $5 billion market.

Indeed, McCormick & Company (the most popular spice brand in the U.S. with $4.2 billion in annual sales), has benefitted from the nutritionally conscious consumer. According to the company's latest financial report, sales grew 6 percent over the previous year and is only projected to rise.

Spices add all-natural depth and flavor to food, so there's no need to overload on salt or sugar, which is appealing to a health-conscious consumer. According to a report from the UK-based Independent, the booming herb-and-spice market rakes in £250 million a year (approximately $372 million), thanks to a growth in ethnic cooking, health concerns as well as a desire to cut salt in diets.

Many spices are packed with nutrients that are beneficial to one's health and reduces the need for man-made medications. For example, ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea and cinnamon helps the body fight infections and repair tissue damage.

The health benefits of eating spices are clear but while eating habits might be changing in America for the better, it comes at a price—and not just on one's wallet. The Independent report also noted that prices are rocketing around the world. It appears that climate change has played a role as erratic weather such as flooding, landslides and monsoons have wiped out crops and outstripped supplies from spice providers.

"Due to the heavy rains last year, many cardamom plantations were destroyed. This resulted in low yield. Both overseas and local demand increased. This resulted in the rise of the prices of cardamom,” N. M. Usman of Spice Board India said in April.

So it could be said that if you want to flavor up your foods, you might also want to help take care of the planet by supporting sustainable farming.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Jon Stewart Hammers Big Food for ‘Death Menu of Artificial Chemicals, Antibiotics and Cool Ranch Carcinogens’

Certified Naturally Grown: A New Way to Identify Pesticide-Free, Non-GMO Food

11 Healthy Reasons to Eat Ginger

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less