U.S. retail sales of spices 2012 and 2016

This statistic shows the retail sales of spices in the United States in 2012 and 2016. In 2012, U.S. retail sales of spices amounted to approximately 765 million U.S. dollars.

Spices - additional information

Spices are mainly used for giving food flavor and color, as well as preserving them. Unlike herbs which come from green leafy plants, spices are made from seeds, fruits, roots, barks, berries, buds and other vegetables. In South Asia and the Middle East, spices have been traded for over thousands of years. During the Middle Ages, spices were one of the most expensive and in demand commodities in Europe. The most popular spices were black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, and nutmeg. Between the 8th and 15th centuries, Venice and other neighboring Italian cities had monopolized the spice trade with the Middle East, making the region very wealthy. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It comes from the stigma of the Crocus sativus flower, a plant native to Central Asia. A pound of saffron costs between 1,600 to 5,000 U.S. dollars.

In 2016, spices generated roughly 927 million U.S. dollars in U.S. retail sales. That year, chili was the best-selling spice, with sales amounting to approximately 159 million U.S. dollars. Cinnamon was also popular among U.S. consumers, generating about 117 million U.S. dollars in sales. In a global perspective, some 8 percent of new seasoning launches were cinnamon-flavored in 2015.

Retail sales of spices in the United States in 2012 and 2016

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Release date

June 2016


United States

Survey time period

2012 and 2016

Supplementary notes

Nielsen Answers on Demand for the 52 weeks ending June 2, 2012 and May 28, 2016, respectively.

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