You might not expect it when you look at the spice department in the supermarket, but the international spice market is big, very big. It has an expert value of more than two billion dollars. Most of these spices are produced by small-scale farmers in developing countries with one to no more than ten hectares of land. The current trade is based on a long anonym supply chain and most of the Western markets are in the hands of a few big companies who have a strong influence on the market prices, and who profit from low prices. This current system has three big negative effects:
1) The quality of the spices become low. In these anonym trade lines there is no eye for species variation and regional differences. Everything is put in the same bulk and special flavours go to waste. What is more, because of these long trade lines, it can take two or even three years before the spices end up in a store. You would rather not eat old bread, so why would we eat old spices?
2) The small-scale farmers who added the biggest value to the product, see only a very tiny part of the sales price: the many middlemen, though they add no real value, seek their own profit in pursuit of low market prices. This means that today, the prices for the famers keep them in a state of poverty.
3) The low prices for the farmer and focus on short-term profit by middlemen puts pressure on many traditional farmers whose methods are normally organic, to use pesticide for a quick increase of the production. With negative effects, as land degradation, pollution, human health issues, decline of biodiversity and quality, on the long-term.
Why a new spice brand?
This makes up for enough reason for a change in the spice trade. It is time for a new brand that focuses on quality, equality, and sustainability. A brand that will shake things up and show that it can be done differently.
Why a short supply chain?
So that the farmer will get a bigger share of the value of its own product, and so that you will get fresher and better spices.
Why only work with farmers who produce organically?
Pesticides drains the soil, reduce biodiversity and quality of the product. To avoid an increase of the use of pesticides, The Good Spice works with farmers who use organic and often traditional methods to grow high-quality products and gives them a better price for the product, so that they are able to continue to do so.
Organic but no organic certification per se?
Organic certification is an expensive process which is not affordable for most small-scale farmers. The Good Spice wants to fill this void and support these farmers to continue or further develop their way of production. The Good Spice will keep track of the farmers statement not to use pesticides by personal communication, field visits and labs test. The results will be publicly published.
Why sell the products on a local brand name?
We don’t want farmers to become dependent on THE GOOD SPICE, but to stand on their own feet. By selling the products under their own brand, the farmers or local entrepreneurs get an independent entry to the European market. The Good Spice’s biggest achievement would be to become an unnecessary step in the supply chain ourselves.