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The most widely used spices in Iran

Each country uses different spices in cooking different types of food according to the special taste and climatic conditions. It can be said that Iranians are more interested in spices than people in many other countries. In Iran, different cooking spices are used in cooking various foods in different cities and provinces, the most widely used of which include the following:

  • Turmeric
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom

Export spices of Iran

Among the numerous spices used in Iranian food and other related fields, only five spices are domestically produced, which are:

  • Saffron
  • Red pepper
  • Sumac
  • Golpar (Persian hogweed)
  • Black and green cumin

These spices are produced in different provinces and cities of the country. But most of their production is done in the following cities:

  • Saffron in Khorasan
  • Red pepper in the cities of Sabzevar and Gorgan
  • Sumac in Tabriz
  • Golpar in northern cities
  • Black and green cumin in Kerman

The main destinations for Iranian spices are Pakistan, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, respectively.

Iranian red gold, the most expensive spice in the world

Iranian saffron, as the most expensive spice in the world, has a high export value. Iran is the largest producer of saffron in the world. The history of saffron cultivation in Iran dates back to more than 3000 years ago. According to Gholamreza Miri, Vice President of the National Saffron Council, ‌Currently, the price of each kilogram of saffron is at least 3 million and 900 thousand Tomans and at most 5 million and 300 thousand Tomans. At present, out of 95% of the world’s saffron, 80% of it is exported from Khorasan Razavi, which is equal to 250 tons of the province’s production, which meets the needs of the whole world. Such capacity in saffron production has made Iran the number one exporter of this product. According to an INSEAD analysis released in 2011, the main markets for exporting saffron include the United States, Italy, France, Sweden, Japan, and Belgium, which together account for more than 69% of the exported saffron. By continental comparison, more than 65% of the market is in Europe and only 16% of the saffron import market is in the United States. According to a 2009 report by the same institute, countries such as Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom are among the major importers of saffron.

Spices imported to Iran

The main import of spices is in several items, these main items include turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger. On the other hand, these spices have a significant place in the basket of household consumption and use in related industries.

The main exporters of spices to Iran, which have the highest volume compared to other countries, include India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and China.

Most turmeric and cardamom come from India, black pepper from Vietnam, and cinnamon from China.

Spice Import data of Iran

Although Iran is one of the most consuming countries in the world in the field of spices, most of our spices are supplied from other countries. In Iran, only a few types of spices are produced in the amount of 50,000 tons. On the other hand, the annual consumption of spices in our country is 220,000 tons, of which 170,000 tons are supplied through imports. 170,000 tons, which are sold in the market in both bulk and packaged forms. The bulk type is the same as the traditional way of buying and selling spices, and the type of packaging has become popular in recent years, which is a kind of investment for the sale of more modern spices. In any case, the important issue is the domestic market’s need for spices, and it can even be said that more than 22 million Iranian households consume such spices. Factories, food industries, and even medical institutions are other major consumers of spices.

HS Code of some common spices

Saffron

  • Saffron stigma: 09102010
  • Saffron stamen: 09102020
  • Saffron other: 09102090

Turmeric (curcuma)

  • Turmeric (Curcuma) fresh: 09103010
  • Turmeric (Curcuma) dried: 09103020
  • Turmeric (Curcuma) powder: 09103030
  • Turmeric (Curcuma) other: 09103090

Cumin

  • Cumin powder (ground cumin): 09109922
  • Cumin seeds, other than black: 09093129
  • Cumin black seed: 09093119

Cardamom

  • Cardamom: 09109931
  • Cardamom powder: 09083210
  • Cardamom seeds: 09083190
  • Cardamom (neither crushed nor ground): 09083110

Black pepper

  • Black pepper: 09041140
  • Black pepper (neither crushed nor ground): 09041130
  • Black pepper powder (crushed nor ground): 09041120

Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon bark: 09061110
  • Cinnamon powder (crushed or ground): 09062000
  • Cinnamon other: 09061190

Ginger

  • Ginger (neither crushed nor ground): 091011
  • Ginger, fresh: 09101110
  • Ginger, dried, unbleached: 09101120
  • Ginger, dried, bleached: 09101130
  • Ginger other: 09101190
  • Ginger (neither crushed nor ground): 091012
  • Ginger powder: 09101210
  • Ginger other: 09101290

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Iran’s Importing and Exporting Spices at a Glance