The spice of life: 20+ seasoning startups taking on the Big Spice Industry

The spice of life: 20+ seasoning startups taking on the Big Spice Industry

By
Louise Burfitt
November 23, 2021

🔥 What is it? 

  • Salt. Pepper. Cumin. Cinnamon. Saffron. Turmeric. Life would be pretty bland without spices, eh? 
  • But how much do you know about where that jar of peppercorns, or that packet of cinnamon sticks, really came from? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • The traditional spice supply market is the opposite of transparent. Long, complex supply chains mean that the average spice on your supermarket’s shelves will have changed hands about 20 times before it ends up in your pantry.  
  • But as consumers become more interested in where the products they buy have come from, a small but significant selection of startups have begun sourcing spices more sustainably, educating consumers about the spice business in the process, and elevating single-origin, fair-trade spices at the same time. Just like artisan chocolate, coffee and tea before it, spices could be the next big frontier...

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Demand for sustainably and ethically produced spices is a key driver of the alt spice market - with a particular focus on paying growers and farmers fairly.  
  • The global spice market is still built on the colonial foundations laid centuries ago, with many middle men taking their cut of profits and exploiting farmers at source. Ethically-minded consumers are saying no more, and companies with more moral missions are stepping up to fill the void.
  • This lengthy process also means that by the time a spice ends up in your kitchen cupboard, it could be years old - even if you’ve just bought it. As shoppers learn more about how ‘Big Spice’ really works, they’re demanding fresher products with more transparent supply chains. Which helps the farmers at the source, too. 
  • Western consumers have also become more adventurous, and are keen to try out new flavours and experiment with spices known for their health benefits, whether that’s the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric or the immune-boosting benefits of garlic. The Covid-19 pandemic meant home cooks were spending more time in the kitchen, boosting the sales of D2C spice brands. 

📈 The figures

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Many new spice startups are focusing on sustainability and ethics by cutting out the money-grabbing middle men that have characterised the global spice market for decades. Burlap and Barrel, for example, is a startup built on its mission of paying farmers better wages and importing directly from growers. 
  • Several upstarts are choosing to specialise in a single spice to begin with, whether that’s turmeric (like Diaspora Spice Co) or cinnamon (such as Cinnamon Tree Organics). This allows businesses to really focus on sustainable and ethical supply chains before scaling up. 
  • Even big names are jumping on the sustainable spices bandwagon - Nestlé have partnered with NGO SAN to beef up their responsible sourcing of chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric. 
  • Most companies begin with a direct-to-consumer model, allowing them to bypass the middle men, and get fresher seasonings to shoppers more quickly. The D2C model works well for spices: compared to supermarkets, where spices are sold in small jars with little sourcing information available, online brands can provide details about the spices they sell and educate consumers on their sourcing and sustainability credentials. Diaspora Spice Co even prints harvesting, mill and best-before dates on its jars. 
  • In the D2C space, subscription models are also proving popular with both entrepreneurs and consumers: Zameen, which sells Pakistani spices, 4456 
  • Although many small D2C spice startups are based in the USA, a common thread appears: many are run by first- or second-generation immigrants, with a desire to bring their love of certain seasonings to a new audience, and often existing relationships and connections in the countries of origin, which prove useful for connecting with suppliers. That’s the case for Homiah, founded by two women with roots in Malaysia and Myanmar, and Heray Spice, launched by Afghan-born Mohammad Salehi, whose family run a saffron farm back home. For buyers, these connections also add a sense of authenticity and knowledge lacking from the supermarket spice shelf. 

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

🛢️ Case study: Burlap and Barrel

  • US company Burlap and Barrel aims to provide sustainable spices to the masses, equitably sourced. 
  • Founded in New York in 2017, the company sells artisan, single-origin spices from around the world, including Turkish thyme, Vietnamese royal cinnamon and wild mountain cumin from Afghanistan. 
  • By sourcing their spices directly from farmers, Burlap and Barrel has made the journey for a spice from harvest to home much quicker than the unwieldy supply chains common to the spices and seasoning industry. 
  • And they acquire the very best products by paying their growers above the going rate, generally between 5 and 20 times the standard price. 
  • This, naturally, means their spice mixes and seasonings are higher-priced than less sustainably sourced equivalents - but the founders have cited 
  • A certified Public Benefit Corporation, the company’s mission is to end inequalities and exploitation in food systems by connecting farmers to high-value end markets. Fostering great relationships with growers is a big part of this.

🌶️  Case study: Homiah

  • Homiah bills itself as a SE Asian pantry, and plans to launch in early 2022.
  • Also founded in New York, in January 2021, the founders have roots in Malaysia and Myanmar - and a desire to bring the flavours of their homelands to shoppers in America.
  • Sustainable sourcing is key to Homiah’s mission, and the startup works directly with SE Asian farmers to maximise its social impact. 
  • This also guarantees fresher ingredients and an end to lengthy supply chains common to the industry. 
  • The company’s curated spice kits will be sold straight to consumers, with home delivery as a given. 
  • The young upstart - named after the Hokkien word for ‘the good life’ -  successfully launched pre orders via Kickstarter in spring 2021 and is now working on their first production cycle.
  • After working with beta testers to fine-tune their products, founders Michelle and May are hoping to launch their spice kits in January 2022.

👍 The good

  • Improved conditions for spice farmers can only be a good thing, giving growers a better deal, and attracting sustainably-minded shoppers too. 
  • Sustainable, fair-trade spices don’t just offer farmers improved pay and security - they also taste better! With shorter supply chains, spices reach consumers much more quickly, and are less likely to have gone stale in the process. 
  • Historically, the global spice industry has been opaque and exploitative. With the advent of D2C spice businesses, consumers will have more choice beyond the supermarket aisle - and more information about what they’re purchasing.

👎 The bad

  • Given how complex sourcing and importing spices is, many companies new to the segment find it difficult to provide a wide array of spices for consumers. That may not be a problem for some, but other shoppers will desire a one-stop-shop for their seasonings, similar to what they’ve come to expect from the supermarket aisles. 
  • Companies should also exercise caution when touting the health benefits of spices; European food labelling laws are clear on the repercussions of misleading consumers.

 💡 The bottom line

  • In recent years many niches of the food industry have seen a move towards more ethical and sustainable sourcing (we see you, coffee and chocolate). 
  • But spices have been slow to catch up to the trend, likely due to a long history of exploitation and secrecy in the spice trade. 
  • No longer - the selection of startups showcased here are likely just the beginning. Keep your eyes (and your ginger) peeled for more morally minded, thoughtful companies in this space.
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🔥 What is it? 

  • Salt. Pepper. Cumin. Cinnamon. Saffron. Turmeric. Life would be pretty bland without spices, eh? 
  • But how much do you know about where that jar of peppercorns, or that packet of cinnamon sticks, really came from? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • The traditional spice supply market is the opposite of transparent. Long, complex supply chains mean that the average spice on your supermarket’s shelves will have changed hands about 20 times before it ends up in your pantry.  
  • But as consumers become more interested in where the products they buy have come from, a small but significant selection of startups have begun sourcing spices more sustainably, educating consumers about the spice business in the process, and elevating single-origin, fair-trade spices at the same time. Just like artisan chocolate, coffee and tea before it, spices could be the next big frontier...

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Demand for sustainably and ethically produced spices is a key driver of the alt spice market - with a particular focus on paying growers and farmers fairly.  
  • The global spice market is still built on the colonial foundations laid centuries ago, with many middle men taking their cut of profits and exploiting farmers at source. Ethically-minded consumers are saying no more, and companies with more moral missions are stepping up to fill the void.
  • This lengthy process also means that by the time a spice ends up in your kitchen cupboard, it could be years old - even if you’ve just bought it. As shoppers learn more about how ‘Big Spice’ really works, they’re demanding fresher products with more transparent supply chains. Which helps the farmers at the source, too. 
  • Western consumers have also become more adventurous, and are keen to try out new flavours and experiment with spices known for their health benefits, whether that’s the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric or the immune-boosting benefits of garlic. The Covid-19 pandemic meant home cooks were spending more time in the kitchen, boosting the sales of D2C spice brands. 

📈 The figures

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Many new spice startups are focusing on sustainability and ethics by cutting out the money-grabbing middle men that have characterised the global spice market for decades. Burlap and Barrel, for example, is a startup built on its mission of paying farmers better wages and importing directly from growers. 
  • Several upstarts are choosing to specialise in a single spice to begin with, whether that’s turmeric (like Diaspora Spice Co) or cinnamon (such as Cinnamon Tree Organics). This allows businesses to really focus on sustainable and ethical supply chains before scaling up. 
  • Even big names are jumping on the sustainable spices bandwagon - Nestlé have partnered with NGO SAN to beef up their responsible sourcing of chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric. 
  • Most companies begin with a direct-to-consumer model, allowing them to bypass the middle men, and get fresher seasonings to shoppers more quickly. The D2C model works well for spices: compared to supermarkets, where spices are sold in small jars with little sourcing information available, online brands can provide details about the spices they sell and educate consumers on their sourcing and sustainability credentials. Diaspora Spice Co even prints harvesting, mill and best-before dates on its jars. 
  • In the D2C space, subscription models are also proving popular with both entrepreneurs and consumers: Zameen, which sells Pakistani spices, 4456 
  • Although many small D2C spice startups are based in the USA, a common thread appears: many are run by first- or second-generation immigrants, with a desire to bring their love of certain seasonings to a new audience, and often existing relationships and connections in the countries of origin, which prove useful for connecting with suppliers. That’s the case for Homiah, founded by two women with roots in Malaysia and Myanmar, and Heray Spice, launched by Afghan-born Mohammad Salehi, whose family run a saffron farm back home. For buyers, these connections also add a sense of authenticity and knowledge lacking from the supermarket spice shelf. 

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

🛢️ Case study: Burlap and Barrel

  • US company Burlap and Barrel aims to provide sustainable spices to the masses, equitably sourced. 
  • Founded in New York in 2017, the company sells artisan, single-origin spices from around the world, including Turkish thyme, Vietnamese royal cinnamon and wild mountain cumin from Afghanistan. 
  • By sourcing their spices directly from farmers, Burlap and Barrel has made the journey for a spice from harvest to home much quicker than the unwieldy supply chains common to the spices and seasoning industry. 
  • And they acquire the very best products by paying their growers above the going rate, generally between 5 and 20 times the standard price. 
  • This, naturally, means their spice mixes and seasonings are higher-priced than less sustainably sourced equivalents - but the founders have cited 
  • A certified Public Benefit Corporation, the company’s mission is to end inequalities and exploitation in food systems by connecting farmers to high-value end markets. Fostering great relationships with growers is a big part of this.

🌶️  Case study: Homiah

  • Homiah bills itself as a SE Asian pantry, and plans to launch in early 2022.
  • Also founded in New York, in January 2021, the founders have roots in Malaysia and Myanmar - and a desire to bring the flavours of their homelands to shoppers in America.
  • Sustainable sourcing is key to Homiah’s mission, and the startup works directly with SE Asian farmers to maximise its social impact. 
  • This also guarantees fresher ingredients and an end to lengthy supply chains common to the industry. 
  • The company’s curated spice kits will be sold straight to consumers, with home delivery as a given. 
  • The young upstart - named after the Hokkien word for ‘the good life’ -  successfully launched pre orders via Kickstarter in spring 2021 and is now working on their first production cycle.
  • After working with beta testers to fine-tune their products, founders Michelle and May are hoping to launch their spice kits in January 2022.

👍 The good

  • Improved conditions for spice farmers can only be a good thing, giving growers a better deal, and attracting sustainably-minded shoppers too. 
  • Sustainable, fair-trade spices don’t just offer farmers improved pay and security - they also taste better! With shorter supply chains, spices reach consumers much more quickly, and are less likely to have gone stale in the process. 
  • Historically, the global spice industry has been opaque and exploitative. With the advent of D2C spice businesses, consumers will have more choice beyond the supermarket aisle - and more information about what they’re purchasing.

👎 The bad

  • Given how complex sourcing and importing spices is, many companies new to the segment find it difficult to provide a wide array of spices for consumers. That may not be a problem for some, but other shoppers will desire a one-stop-shop for their seasonings, similar to what they’ve come to expect from the supermarket aisles. 
  • Companies should also exercise caution when touting the health benefits of spices; European food labelling laws are clear on the repercussions of misleading consumers.

 💡 The bottom line

  • In recent years many niches of the food industry have seen a move towards more ethical and sustainable sourcing (we see you, coffee and chocolate). 
  • But spices have been slow to catch up to the trend, likely due to a long history of exploitation and secrecy in the spice trade. 
  • No longer - the selection of startups showcased here are likely just the beginning. Keep your eyes (and your ginger) peeled for more morally minded, thoughtful companies in this space.

🔥 What is it? 

  • Salt. Pepper. Cumin. Cinnamon. Saffron. Turmeric. Life would be pretty bland without spices, eh? 
  • But how much do you know about where that jar of peppercorns, or that packet of cinnamon sticks, really came from? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • The traditional spice supply market is the opposite of transparent. Long, complex supply chains mean that the average spice on your supermarket’s shelves will have changed hands about 20 times before it ends up in your pantry.  
  • But as consumers become more interested in where the products they buy have come from, a small but significant selection of startups have begun sourcing spices more sustainably, educating consumers about the spice business in the process, and elevating single-origin, fair-trade spices at the same time. Just like artisan chocolate, coffee and tea before it, spices could be the next big frontier...

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Demand for sustainably and ethically produced spices is a key driver of the alt spice market - with a particular focus on paying growers and farmers fairly.  
  • The global spice market is still built on the colonial foundations laid centuries ago, with many middle men taking their cut of profits and exploiting farmers at source. Ethically-minded consumers are saying no more, and companies with more moral missions are stepping up to fill the void.
  • This lengthy process also means that by the time a spice ends up in your kitchen cupboard, it could be years old - even if you’ve just bought it. As shoppers learn more about how ‘Big Spice’ really works, they’re demanding fresher products with more transparent supply chains. Which helps the farmers at the source, too. 
  • Western consumers have also become more adventurous, and are keen to try out new flavours and experiment with spices known for their health benefits, whether that’s the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric or the immune-boosting benefits of garlic. The Covid-19 pandemic meant home cooks were spending more time in the kitchen, boosting the sales of D2C spice brands. 

📈 The figures

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Many new spice startups are focusing on sustainability and ethics by cutting out the money-grabbing middle men that have characterised the global spice market for decades. Burlap and Barrel, for example, is a startup built on its mission of paying farmers better wages and importing directly from growers. 
  • Several upstarts are choosing to specialise in a single spice to begin with, whether that’s turmeric (like Diaspora Spice Co) or cinnamon (such as Cinnamon Tree Organics). This allows businesses to really focus on sustainable and ethical supply chains before scaling up. 
  • Even big names are jumping on the sustainable spices bandwagon - Nestlé have partnered with NGO SAN to beef up their responsible sourcing of chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric. 
  • Most companies begin with a direct-to-consumer model, allowing them to bypass the middle men, and get fresher seasonings to shoppers more quickly. The D2C model works well for spices: compared to supermarkets, where spices are sold in small jars with little sourcing information available, online brands can provide details about the spices they sell and educate consumers on their sourcing and sustainability credentials. Diaspora Spice Co even prints harvesting, mill and best-before dates on its jars. 
  • In the D2C space, subscription models are also proving popular with both entrepreneurs and consumers: Zameen, which sells Pakistani spices, 4456 
  • Although many small D2C spice startups are based in the USA, a common thread appears: many are run by first- or second-generation immigrants, with a desire to bring their love of certain seasonings to a new audience, and often existing relationships and connections in the countries of origin, which prove useful for connecting with suppliers. That’s the case for Homiah, founded by two women with roots in Malaysia and Myanmar, and Heray Spice, launched by Afghan-born Mohammad Salehi, whose family run a saffron farm back home. For buyers, these connections also add a sense of authenticity and knowledge lacking from the supermarket spice shelf. 

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

🛢️ Case study: Burlap and Barrel

  • US company Burlap and Barrel aims to provide sustainable spices to the masses, equitably sourced. 
  • Founded in New York in 2017, the company sells artisan, single-origin spices from around the world, including Turkish thyme, Vietnamese royal cinnamon and wild mountain cumin from Afghanistan. 
  • By sourcing their spices directly from farmers, Burlap and Barrel has made the journey for a spice from harvest to home much quicker than the unwieldy supply chains common to the spices and seasoning industry. 
  • And they acquire the very best products by paying their growers above the going rate, generally between 5 and 20 times the standard price. 
  • This, naturally, means their spice mixes and seasonings are higher-priced than less sustainably sourced equivalents - but the founders have cited 
  • A certified Public Benefit Corporation, the company’s mission is to end inequalities and exploitation in food systems by connecting farmers to high-value end markets. Fostering great relationships with growers is a big part of this.

🌶️  Case study: Homiah

  • Homiah bills itself as a SE Asian pantry, and plans to launch in early 2022.
  • Also founded in New York, in January 2021, the founders have roots in Malaysia and Myanmar - and a desire to bring the flavours of their homelands to shoppers in America.
  • Sustainable sourcing is key to Homiah’s mission, and the startup works directly with SE Asian farmers to maximise its social impact. 
  • This also guarantees fresher ingredients and an end to lengthy supply chains common to the industry. 
  • The company’s curated spice kits will be sold straight to consumers, with home delivery as a given. 
  • The young upstart - named after the Hokkien word for ‘the good life’ -  successfully launched pre orders via Kickstarter in spring 2021 and is now working on their first production cycle.
  • After working with beta testers to fine-tune their products, founders Michelle and May are hoping to launch their spice kits in January 2022.

👍 The good

  • Improved conditions for spice farmers can only be a good thing, giving growers a better deal, and attracting sustainably-minded shoppers too. 
  • Sustainable, fair-trade spices don’t just offer farmers improved pay and security - they also taste better! With shorter supply chains, spices reach consumers much more quickly, and are less likely to have gone stale in the process. 
  • Historically, the global spice industry has been opaque and exploitative. With the advent of D2C spice businesses, consumers will have more choice beyond the supermarket aisle - and more information about what they’re purchasing.

👎 The bad

  • Given how complex sourcing and importing spices is, many companies new to the segment find it difficult to provide a wide array of spices for consumers. That may not be a problem for some, but other shoppers will desire a one-stop-shop for their seasonings, similar to what they’ve come to expect from the supermarket aisles. 
  • Companies should also exercise caution when touting the health benefits of spices; European food labelling laws are clear on the repercussions of misleading consumers.

 💡 The bottom line

  • In recent years many niches of the food industry have seen a move towards more ethical and sustainable sourcing (we see you, coffee and chocolate). 
  • But spices have been slow to catch up to the trend, likely due to a long history of exploitation and secrecy in the spice trade. 
  • No longer - the selection of startups showcased here are likely just the beginning. Keep your eyes (and your ginger) peeled for more morally minded, thoughtful companies in this space.

🔥 What is it? 

  • Salt. Pepper. Cumin. Cinnamon. Saffron. Turmeric. Life would be pretty bland without spices, eh? 
  • But how much do you know about where that jar of peppercorns, or that packet of cinnamon sticks, really came from? 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • The traditional spice supply market is the opposite of transparent. Long, complex supply chains mean that the average spice on your supermarket’s shelves will have changed hands about 20 times before it ends up in your pantry.  
  • But as consumers become more interested in where the products they buy have come from, a small but significant selection of startups have begun sourcing spices more sustainably, educating consumers about the spice business in the process, and elevating single-origin, fair-trade spices at the same time. Just like artisan chocolate, coffee and tea before it, spices could be the next big frontier...

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Demand for sustainably and ethically produced spices is a key driver of the alt spice market - with a particular focus on paying growers and farmers fairly.  
  • The global spice market is still built on the colonial foundations laid centuries ago, with many middle men taking their cut of profits and exploiting farmers at source. Ethically-minded consumers are saying no more, and companies with more moral missions are stepping up to fill the void.
  • This lengthy process also means that by the time a spice ends up in your kitchen cupboard, it could be years old - even if you’ve just bought it. As shoppers learn more about how ‘Big Spice’ really works, they’re demanding fresher products with more transparent supply chains. Which helps the farmers at the source, too. 
  • Western consumers have also become more adventurous, and are keen to try out new flavours and experiment with spices known for their health benefits, whether that’s the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric or the immune-boosting benefits of garlic. The Covid-19 pandemic meant home cooks were spending more time in the kitchen, boosting the sales of D2C spice brands. 

📈 The figures

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Many new spice startups are focusing on sustainability and ethics by cutting out the money-grabbing middle men that have characterised the global spice market for decades. Burlap and Barrel, for example, is a startup built on its mission of paying farmers better wages and importing directly from growers. 
  • Several upstarts are choosing to specialise in a single spice to begin with, whether that’s turmeric (like Diaspora Spice Co) or cinnamon (such as Cinnamon Tree Organics). This allows businesses to really focus on sustainable and ethical supply chains before scaling up. 
  • Even big names are jumping on the sustainable spices bandwagon - Nestlé have partnered with NGO SAN to beef up their responsible sourcing of chilli, coriander, cumin and turmeric. 
  • Most companies begin with a direct-to-consumer model, allowing them to bypass the middle men, and get fresher seasonings to shoppers more quickly. The D2C model works well for spices: compared to supermarkets, where spices are sold in small jars with little sourcing information available, online brands can provide details about the spices they sell and educate consumers on their sourcing and sustainability credentials. Diaspora Spice Co even prints harvesting, mill and best-before dates on its jars. 
  • In the D2C space, subscription models are also proving popular with both entrepreneurs and consumers: Zameen, which sells Pakistani spices, 4456 
  • Although many small D2C spice startups are based in the USA, a common thread appears: many are run by first- or second-generation immigrants, with a desire to bring their love of certain seasonings to a new audience, and often existing relationships and connections in the countries of origin, which prove useful for connecting with suppliers. That’s the case for Homiah, founded by two women with roots in Malaysia and Myanmar, and Heray Spice, launched by Afghan-born Mohammad Salehi, whose family run a saffron farm back home. For buyers, these connections also add a sense of authenticity and knowledge lacking from the supermarket spice shelf. 

👀 Who? (21 companies in this space)

🛢️ Case study: Burlap and Barrel

  • US company Burlap and Barrel aims to provide sustainable spices to the masses, equitably sourced. 
  • Founded in New York in 2017, the company sells artisan, single-origin spices from around the world, including Turkish thyme, Vietnamese royal cinnamon and wild mountain cumin from Afghanistan. 
  • By sourcing their spices directly from farmers, Burlap and Barrel has made the journey for a spice from harvest to home much quicker than the unwieldy supply chains common to the spices and seasoning industry. 
  • And they acquire the very best products by paying their growers above the going rate, generally between 5 and 20 times the standard price. 
  • This, naturally, means their spice mixes and seasonings are higher-priced than less sustainably sourced equivalents - but the founders have cited 
  • A certified Public Benefit Corporation, the company’s mission is to end inequalities and exploitation in food systems by connecting farmers to high-value end markets. Fostering great relationships with growers is a big part of this.

🌶️  Case study: Homiah

  • Homiah bills itself as a SE Asian pantry, and plans to launch in early 2022.
  • Also founded in New York, in January 2021, the founders have roots in Malaysia and Myanmar - and a desire to bring the flavours of their homelands to shoppers in America.
  • Sustainable sourcing is key to Homiah’s mission, and the startup works directly with SE Asian farmers to maximise its social impact. 
  • This also guarantees fresher ingredients and an end to lengthy supply chains common to the industry. 
  • The company’s curated spice kits will be sold straight to consumers, with home delivery as a given. 
  • The young upstart - named after the Hokkien word for ‘the good life’ -  successfully launched pre orders via Kickstarter in spring 2021 and is now working on their first production cycle.
  • After working with beta testers to fine-tune their products, founders Michelle and May are hoping to launch their spice kits in January 2022.

👍 The good

  • Improved conditions for spice farmers can only be a good thing, giving growers a better deal, and attracting sustainably-minded shoppers too. 
  • Sustainable, fair-trade spices don’t just offer farmers improved pay and security - they also taste better! With shorter supply chains, spices reach consumers much more quickly, and are less likely to have gone stale in the process. 
  • Historically, the global spice industry has been opaque and exploitative. With the advent of D2C spice businesses, consumers will have more choice beyond the supermarket aisle - and more information about what they’re purchasing.

👎 The bad

  • Given how complex sourcing and importing spices is, many companies new to the segment find it difficult to provide a wide array of spices for consumers. That may not be a problem for some, but other shoppers will desire a one-stop-shop for their seasonings, similar to what they’ve come to expect from the supermarket aisles. 
  • Companies should also exercise caution when touting the health benefits of spices; European food labelling laws are clear on the repercussions of misleading consumers.

 💡 The bottom line

  • In recent years many niches of the food industry have seen a move towards more ethical and sustainable sourcing (we see you, coffee and chocolate). 
  • But spices have been slow to catch up to the trend, likely due to a long history of exploitation and secrecy in the spice trade. 
  • No longer - the selection of startups showcased here are likely just the beginning. Keep your eyes (and your ginger) peeled for more morally minded, thoughtful companies in this space.
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