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About 2004 World Spice Congress



The Seventh World Spice Congress held during 29-31 January, 2004 at Hotel Taj Krishna, Hyderabad, where the entire spice fraternity from all over the globe converged in a spirit of comradeship to share thoughts and to script a new roadmap to future, had all the colours, flavours and excitement, with intellectually stimulating presentations, discussions and visuals, meticulously planned with immaculate perfection.  We have strived hard to make it a memorable event for the participants.  If there was any slip anywhere, please accept our apologies.  It is our belief that on the whole, the event was a pleasant experience for all, facilitating fusion of view points, and emergence of consensus between different stakeholders, be it producing country or consuming country or regulators. 

The three-day Congress at the end of the day could present sharp visuals to the participants on how spice industry would look like, few years from now.  The complexities of the emerging new markets for spices beyond flavours, and the abounding opportunities ahead were unravelled before the world spice trade and  strategies on how to reinvent the new consumer and redefine the market were deliberated. 

We look forward to meet you in the next World Spice Congress in the year 2006, when the global spice market by then would have transformed itself into yet another fascinating phase - beyond what we can visualize.

With best wishes, 

Spices Board of India
Cochin - 682 025   

Business & Conference Committee      
World Spice Congress- 2004

WORLD  SPICE  CONGRESS 2004 - Spices … Flavours & Beyond: 

The Seventh World Spice Congress was held at Hyderabad during 29-31 January, 2004.  The core theme of the Congress, consciously chosen was “Spices - Flavours & Beyond”, as the mission was to explore the exciting world of spices, which is no more confined to culinary. 

The Sessions were structured with logical sequence.  First Session held on 30th January, 2004 [Forenoon] apprised the industry on the crops and markets - the supply demand dynamics, as the entire value chain derives its strength from the production basis - quality,  post harvest management, global production and demand.  This Session covered Pepper, Chillies, Seed Spices, Vanilla and Organic Spices, with experts analysing the market dynamics. 

In the Second Session held on 30th Jan, 2004 [Afternoon] changes in the external environment, food safety regulations and its impact on spice trade was analysed threadbare and various food safety regulations in vogue in USA, EU, Asia/Pacific and Codex and Pesticide Residue issues were deliberated in detail by eminent speakers drawn from the respective areas, who covered the complex issues, and gave the right alert to the industry, converged from all parts of the world in the Congress.   

In the Third Session, held on 31st Jan, 2004 [Forenoon] the deliberations were on Spices.. Flavours & Beyond, focusing on spices, as flavour contributors, spices and food colour industry, and spices as health food.  The exciting world of spices beyond flavours was unravelled by experts in the session. 

The Seventh World Spice Congress evoked enthusiastic response, with 352 delegates from all over the world participating in the Congress.  All major spice buying countries such as USA, theUK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, France, Germany, Switzerland, Grand Cayman, Italy, South Africa, The Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Japan,Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and spice exporting countries like Madagascar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand were represented in the Congress.  International Organisations like the American Spice Trade Association, European Commission, Spices and Allied Products Exporters Association of Sri Lanka, European Spice Association, All Nippon Spice Association, Japan, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, etc. were represented in the Congress. 

The Spices Exhibition was inaugurated by Mr.K.Vijaya Rama Rao, Hon. Minister for Commercial Taxes, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh at 11.30 AM on 29th Jan, 2004. 

The Inaugural Session started at 6.30 PM on 29.1.2004.  Chairman, Spices Board welcomed the delegates to the Spice Congress.  The Congress was inaugurated by Shri Venkateswara Rao, Hon. Minister for Education, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, who read the Inaugural Address of Mr.N.Chandrababu Naidu, Hon. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, who was to inaugurate the Congress, as per the original plan. 

On 30th Jan, 2004, the proceedings had a colourful start with Key Note Address by Mr.Robert J Lawless, President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCormicks Inc. USA, who was introduced to the audience by Mr.M.S.A.Kumar, Managing Director of AVT McCormicks Ingredients, Cochin and Chairman of the Business & Conference Committee of World Spice Congress 2004.  After the key note address, the Business Sessions started.

There were three Sessions in the following sequence:


Business Session - I - Crops & Markets

Paper 1 - Pepper
Paper 2 - Chilly
Paper 3 - Seed Spices & Herbs
Paper 4 - Vanilla
Paper 5 - Organic Spices

Business Session II - Food Safety Initiatives

Paper 1 - GMP and HACCP
Paper 2 - Food Safety & Regulations in Europe
Paper 3 - Food Safety and Regulations in Asia Pacific
Paper 4 - Pesticide Residue and Codex
Paper 5- Food Safety and Regulations in USA - Preparedness and Response to Bio-Terrorism Act 2002

Session III - Spices… Flavours & Beyond

Paper 1 - Initiatives for Quality Upgradation
Paper 2 -  Emerging Flavour Contributors - Spice Blends/Seasonings
Paper 3 -  Spice Colours - Focus on Food Colour Industry
Paper 4 - Health Food in Spices - Challenging Market Segments

Mr.R.K.Menon, Chairman, All India Spices Exporters Forum, proposed the vote of thanks. 

The sessions were rich in content, encompassing all crucial areas, moving swiftly from production competencies, to quality, regulatory framework and then into the exciting new markets beyond flavours.  The supply scenario, changing trends in demand, what,  when and from where to source, quality capabilities of different sources, technological strides achieved by the industry, and the new consumers and markets emerging,  which can change the pace, direction and complexion of  the global spice trade few years from now, were unfolded with striking visuals, conceptual clarity and market analysis.


Ms.Jacquiline, Unilever:

Though South Africa is a producer of Chillies, it is not sufficient to meet domestic demand.  The domestic market is around 5000 tonnes, whereas the production is only 2000 - 3000 MT.  South Africa intends to source chillies and other spices from India.  South Africa can emerge as a major market for India, if it can conform to the quality norms specified especially in terms of pesticide residue and Aflatoxin. 

The impact on prices of Pepper as an offshoot of new supply has to be taken note of.


Mr.Bob Falck, Elite Spice Inc.:

To gain market in US, one has to keep abreast of the recent changes in the legislature, especially the Bio-Terrorism Act, which imposes new obligations on exporters to USA.

The US market offer immense potential but quality will be the deciding factor.  Effective management of the supply chain, gauging changes in demand pattern and offering value as per customer needs will become more relevant. 


Mr.Philip Kuruvilla, Madhu Jayanthi:

The supply demand scenario on Pepper depicts surplus in global supply position and its impact on price has to be watched.  That price level also determines quality is a factor we have to remember. 

On Chilli exports from India, post harvest management assumes critical importance in enhancing quality of chillies, and Spices Board’s initiatives in modernising post harvest management have made visible impact in producing chillies which are Aflatoxin free and pesticide residue free.

The prevailing prices for Vanilla beans make it the most profitable proposition for growers, even at increased cost of cultivation.  Long term prospects for Vanilla are bright as synthetic vanillin will be replaced by natural vanillin, though at a slow pace. 

Question and Answer Session:


Q.  On Chilli Price. 

A.   Chilli price will be more or less stable.  There is no possibility for drastic changes in prices.


Q.  On Seed Spices crop estimate. 

A.  Turkish crop of cumin will be around 15-20,000 tons, Syria around   25,000 tons and Iran around 15 - 20,000 tons for the current year.  Due to shortage, cumin price has shown upward movement, now suddenly has stabilized, and so is the price around 1000 - 1500 US$ per MT.  Regarding quality attributes, the volatile oil content of cumin is more or less the same in all origins.


Q.  On Poppy Seeds - crop position and price trends. 

A.  Poppy Seeds are basically commodity and show usual price variations based on supply demand.  There are two types of poppy seeds in Turkey - White and Black.  Production of black poppy seeds was 18,000 tons and white poppy seeds was 2000 tons during the last year. 


Q.  On high growth in market for Pepper in EU:  What are the growth drivers?

A.  Pepper market is driven by Vietnam, which has emerged as the largest producer and exporter of Pepper.  Their production is estimated around 80,000 to 1,00,000 MT, including carry over stock of 10,000 MT.


Q.  On panic buying or bunch picking of vanilla beans affecting quality. 

A.  In a booming price situation, there will be temptation to lose focus on quality.  This should be resisted by the growers.  As India is emerging as a large producer of vanilla, high quality has to be maintained from the beginning itself to keep the quality image in tact. 


Q.  What are the challenges to vanilla production in India?

A.  Increasing vanilla production on a war footing to meet global demand is the first and foremost issue to be addressed, as there is shortage because of disruption in supplies from Madagascar.  We have to keep our unique quality with high vanillin content.  Producing Organic Vanilla can be another differentiating feature.  Our distinct image for quality will stand India in good stead, when we become a major producer by 2005. 


Q.  On different standards followed by organic certifiers.

A.  It is true that different standards on different countries is a burden on the organic certifier.  These standards should be harmonised and IFOAM is moving in this direction. 

Mr.Nori Otera, Stange Japan KK, Japan:


In Japan, the food safety regulations are becoming more and more stringent.  It reflects concerns of three stakeholders:  The first concern is consumers quality expectations.  The second is from food processors’ point of view.  The third is regulatory role of the Government.  As Japan imports from large number of countries, it has to ensure food safety with appropriate measures.  Food safety is the basic desire of the consumers, and he will choose only those spices/spice products that conform to all quality specifications.


Mr.Bharat Maskai, M/s.Shree Balaji Gums & Spice Stuff P.Ltd. India:


Food Safety is the prime concern of the customers worldwide and the message is loud and clear.  We have to religiously follow the food safety regulations, and with this in view, all spice processors have to necessarily acquire HACCP Certification, with Good Manufacturing Practices.  This would enhance the quality capabilities of the industry and equip them better to address the quality concerns of the customers. 


The serious concern for food safety is a welcome move, but the food safety legislation should not lead to discriminatory trade barriers.  While fixing of MRLs, one should strike a balance between ground realities and quality needs of the consumer, giving enough time to producing countries to achieve the high standards.

Question and Answer Session:

Q.  You mentioned extension of pesticide MRLs in vegetable from ‘fresh basis to dried’.  How is this done in practice?  You mentioned a water activity level of 0.60 as a safe maximum for, say, chillies to guard against mycotoxin development.  What would this mean in terms of ‘moisture content’ for chillies?


A.  Fresh chilli weighs six times than dry chillies.  There is no direct relation between water activity and moisture.  I would recommend mycotoxin activity. 


Q. Nutritional data declaration for spices and spice extracts.  Is it a regulatory requirement?


A.  No.  of course there are exceptions.


Q.  Which sterilisation process for spices is permitted in Australia and New Zealand?


A. Irradiation is possible for steam sterilisation of spices.  The second is steam sterilisation.  Both the above are permitted in Australia and New Zealand.


Q. There are no MRLs for spice oleoresins in EC.  The limits set for whole spices apply which is technically wrong.  Does EC have plans to change this analogue?  Have you published the list of 450 pesticides withdrawn?


A.    Spice Oleoresins is added to the list of MRLs.  The list of 450 pesticides is published and notified in the SPS Legislation and WTO contact points.


Concluding Remarks of Chairman of the Session, Mr.A.K.Thakur

Mr.Scott Nykaza, Kalsec Inc. USA:


The salient features of the new market that have emerged based on the functional attributes of Spices have to be studied closely to successfully enter these new areas, spice colours, spice blends, seasonings have opened up growth opportunities.  Companies have to invest heavily in this new areas of flavours and colours.  Quality requirements have to be met and capabilities have to be continuously upgraded to meet the buyers specific needs.  Buying countries should be candid and precise in their expectations in measurable terms.  The future market will see the consumer buying a product,  based on the functional attributes of the product.  We have to invest in research and development and develop products in fine tune with  the market requirements. 


Ms.Anna Maria Sand, Lyckeby Culinar AB, Sweden:


The various aspects of the Indian food products was highlighted.  Spice mixes of the Scandinavian part in the industry in the food sector plays a major role.  Sweden also produces  modified starch and fibres.  They are concerned about the taste in the most important markets and are very conscious of quality.  The food safety measures which are becoming more and more rigorous will be real challenge, the industry has to win over. 




Dr.Balu P Maliakel, M/s.Akay Flavours & Aromatic Ltd. India:


Chris Hansen is  a leading player in the field of natural colours.  As regards flavour attributes, developmental activities have not been given the required attention and investment.  This has to be addressed.


While studying market expectations are necessary, product research to develop innovative products in line with the changing market is more important.  When we are moving towards natural colours, standardisation of the product and process has to be achieved.  R& D efforts have to be stepped up to develop new flavours and colours.  Spices Board should play its supporting role to industry’s developmental work in these areas.


Mr.Sanjay Mariwala, Kancor Flavours & Extracts Ltd. India:

The business of food colour industry and flavour contributors is quite complex, but immense potentials do exist.  Issues confronting the regulatory requirements related to Spices that are bringing challenges with respect to meeting the expectations of consumers by importers and exporters should be taken up with the appropriate authority.  The underlying fact is that there is a need for each of us in the supply chain of delivery to cater to the needs of the industry.  We have seen shift in consumer attitudes and usage pattern and applications of spices in various spice blends and mixes.  About the regulatory environment, there is clearly a role for both the Indian spice industry and the Spices Board to examine their role in this context and the support programmes that are to be put in place in developing new technology.  The issue needs to be emphasized on how to collaborate on competencies and capabilities and support such extensive uses of spices and spice based products for creating  new ideas for the future.


The producing nations need to focus on how to move forward in the technological spectrum in better delivery form and add value to the products.  The Asian market’s growth opportunity for food colour sector is high and this has to be examined in the proper perspective.  Technology is another key area of focus in this direction.  Another exciting growth opportunity is for health foods and its various derivatives and applications, nutrition and health management.


Question and Answer Session:


Q.  Clarification on the suspended exporter firms having Spice House Certificate.


A.  Spice House Certificates are awarded only to manufacturer exporters.  The suspended firms are merchant exporters who are not eligible for Spice House Certificate. 


Q.  On controlling adulteration in Spices, not only in exports but also in domestic market. 


 A.  Spices Board’s mandate is only on exports, but other agencies do effect control measures.


Q.  On the assistance extended by Spices Board for ISO/HACCP Certification, list of private laboratories accredited by Spices Board.


A.  Details of the schemes are available in our website.  M/s.Geochem, Mumbai and M/s.Synergy Systems are the private laboratories accredited.


Q.  If chilli powder is diluted, how do you trace that?


      A.  Chilli Powder and crushed chillies are the items notified.