Agricultural Economics Research Review
Vol. 19 July-December 2006 pp 367-376
Analysis of Demand for Major Spices in India*
Shinoj P. and V. C. Mathur1
India is the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of spices in the world.
The demand scenario for major spices in India has been comprehensively
examined in the study. The shift in preferences of domestic consumers for
food items, increasing urbanization and rising incomes, altered demographic
and social factors and the changes in productivity of spices have brought
about changes in the pattern of their consumption and demand. A two-
stage budgeting framework, which is a recent development in the theory,
of demand with quadratic terms of total expenditure / food expenditure
and is an appropriate technique for computing the expenditure elasticities,
has been employed to work out the expenditure elasticities for spices in
India. The resultant expenditure elasticities range between 0.40 and 0.60
and do not show much disparity across different income classes or regions
and over the years. Also, the household consumption demand projections
for important spices in the country for the years 2005, 2010 and 2015 show
that the domestic demand for spices would increase further in the coming
Spices have been an integral part of the Indian diet, and the demand for
spices has been growing year after year. India has certain natural comparative
advantages with respect to production and utilization of spices; these include
diverse agro-climatic production environments, availability of innumerable
varieties and cultivars of each spice suitable for different climatic conditions,
cheap labour, large domestic market and a strong tradition of using spices
and their products in food, medicine and cosmetics. This is the reason that,
*The paper is drawn heavily from the M.Sc. Thesis of the first author, submitted to
the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi in the year 2004
under the guidance of Prof. Praduman Kumar, Division of Agricultural Econom-
ics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.
1Division of Agricultural Economics, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI),
New Delhi -110012.
The authors thank the referee for his fruitful suggestions.
368 Agricultural Economics Research Review Vol.19 July-December 2006
in almost all the states and union territories of India, at least one spice is
grown in abundance. India is not only the largest producer but also the
largest consumer of spices in the world. There has been a steady increase
in the area and production of spices in India over the years. The annual
growth rates in area and production have been estimated to be 3.6 per cent
and 5.6 per cent, respectively for the year 2003 (Survey of Indian Agriculture,
2004). In the year 2002, the production of spices in India had reached a
level of 3.08 million tonnes on 2.60 million hectares of land (Economic Survey,
2002-03). The major contributors to the area and production of spices in the
country include chillies, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom and garlic.
India is also the largest exporter of spices, exporting 0.24 million tonnes of
spices, valued at Rs 23 thousand million (around 45 per cent by volume and
25 per cent by value of the world’s total spices trade). In addition, the
country exports spice oils and oleoresins to the global spices market. Though
these account for only 2 per cent of the country’s total quantum of spices
exports, they contribute about 24 per cent of the total export earnings from
spices (2001-02). The major proportion of the spices produced in India is
absorbed in the domestic market and only about 10 per cent is exported to
over 150 countries.
The pattern of spices production has been changing over time in different
regions. The shifts in preferences of domestic consumers, increasing
urbanization, rising incomes, demographic and social factors and the changes
in productivity of spices have brought about changes in the pattern of
consumption and hence the demand for spices. Liberalization of trade under
the WTO regime is expected to have a significant impact on the international
demand pattern of spices. Relatively little work has been done to
comprehensively study the dynamics of demand for spices in India. Hence,
the present study was undertaken specifically to (i) estimate demand model
and compute demand elasicities of spices, and (ii) project the demand for
spices in the medium-term, till the year 2015.
The study used household data on consumer expenditure and
consumption pattern from the nation-wide surveys conducted by the National
Sample Survey Organization (NSSO). Specifically, household data collected
under two major rounds of National Sample Survey (NSS) covering the
years, 1987-1988 (July-June) and 1999-2000 (July-June), numbered as 43rd
and 55th rounds, respectively were used for the study. The dietary
consumption of and expenditure on various spices in the food basket for the
rural and urban household levels falling under four income classes, namely,
Shinoj & Mathur: Analysis of Demand for Major Spices in India 369
very poor (below 75% of the poverty line), moderately poor (from 75%
below the poverty line to the poverty line), non-poor low (from the poverty
line to 150% above the poverty line) and non-poor high (above 150% of the
poverty line) were used for carrying out the demand analysis.
A multi-stage budgeting framework was used for modelling the consumer
behaviour of households consuming spices (Dey, 2000; Jain et al., 1998).
The modelling was attempted in two stages (Fig. 1). In the first stage, the
household made the decision on how much of their total income was to be
allocated for food consumption, and the rest on non-food items, given their
household and demographic characteristics. In the second stage, the
household allocated a portion of food expenditure to spices consumption.
Food Expenditure Non-food Expenditure
Fig. 1. Budgeting framework for spices
Food Expenditure Function
A double log regression model was fitted the food expenditure as the
dependent variable and the variables like price of food, price of non-food,
per capita total expenditure, and other socio-demographic variables as the
independent variables. The specific model was as given in Eq. (1):
In(M) = α + γ1 ln(Pf) + γ2 ln(Pnf) + β1 ln Y + β2 (ln Y)2 + ΣθiZ
M = Per capita food expenditure
Y = Per capita total expenditure (income)
Pf = Household specific Stone price index for food
Pnf= Price index for non-food expenditure, and
Z= Socio-demographic vector (family size, year, and urban dummy).
The food expenditure Eq. (1) was estimated by the ordinary least squares
(OLS) method. The condition of homogeneity of degree zero in prices and
income was imposed by restricting γ1 + γ2 + β0 + 2β1 ln (Y) = 0 at the sample
mean of ln (Y).
370 Agricultural Economics Research Review Vol.19 July-December 2006
Stone index for food was approximated using Eq. (2):
In Pf = Σ ω —
pi = Price of the ith food item.
i ln (pi) …(2)
i = Mean of expenditure share of the ith food item, and
Spice Consumption Function
In the second stage, spice consumption function in terms of quantity
was specified using Eq. (3):
Q = Per capita spice consumed in quantity
PS = Price of spices
M = Predicted per capita food expenditure from Eq. (1), and
Z = Socio-demographic vector (family size, year and urban dummy).
The spice consumption function (3) was estimated by the OLS method
by imposing homogeneity restriction of degree zero in prices and food
expenditure at sample mean of ln (M). The data used in the study belonged
to the spice consuming population and hence the consumption of spices was
The expenditure elasticity of food with respect to the total expenditure
(income) was directly obtained by differentiating the double log function
(Eq.1) as follows:
where, β1 is the expenditure elasticity of food with respect to total expenditure
Similarly, the expenditure elasticity of spices with respect to per capita
food expenditure was computed from Eq. (3):
where, β1 is the expenditure elasticity of spices with respect to food
Shinoj & Mathur: Analysis of Demand for Major Spices in India 371
Finally, the expenditure elasticity of spices with respect to the total per
capita expenditure was estimated by Eq. (6):
= Expenditure elasticity of spices with respect to total expenditure
= Expenditure elasticity of food with respect to total expenditure, and
= Expenditure elasticity of spices with respect to food expenditure.
The per capita consumption demand for spices in the tth period was
calculated employing the following formulae:
dt = d0 (1 + d)t
Dt = dt × popt
= Per capita consumption demand for spices in the tth period
= Per capita consumption of spices in the base period
d= Growth in per capita spices consumption demand
= Total consumption demand for spices in the country, and
popt= Projected population of the country in the tth period.
Results and Discussion
The results of the fitted demand model for food expenditure and the
spices consumption and the expenditure elasticities estimated from these
results, along with the medium-term projections for household consumption
demand for major spices, are presented in this section.
The estimates of the parameters of the food expenditure function are
given in Table 1. The explanatory variables included in the model explained
96 per cent of the total variations in food expenditure (Table 1). The
coefficient of food price factor, as expected, was negative and statistically
significant. The coefficient of non-food price factor was positive which
explained that food and non-food commodities were substitutes. The linear-
term of per capita total income variable was positive and significant, indicating
372 Agricultural Economics Research Review Vol.19 July-December 2006
that the response of food expenditure to income changes was substantial.
The squared term of per capita total income variable was negative and
significant, suggesting the existence of a non-linear relationship between
the food expenditure and the total income. A positive relation was seen
between the number of persons in the family and the food expenditure.
There was a negative relation between urban dummy and food expenditure,
which indicated that with urbanization the expenditure on food decreased.
Also, the food expenditure decreased with time.
The estimates of the parameters of the spice consumption function are
presented in Table 2. The value of adjusted R2 was 0.85, indicating a good
fit of the model. The coefficient of the food expenditure function was found
significant, but its squared-term was not significant. This explained that a
linear relationship existed between spices consumption and food expenditure.
The coefficient of urban dummy was not significant. The coefficient of
year was positive and explained that the overall spice consumption had
increased from 1987 to 1999. All the regional dummies were positive and
significant, indicating the importance of spices in the consumption basket in
Table 1. Estimated food expenditure function (Stage 1)
Standard error t- value
Dependent variable: Food expenditure (per capita)
ln (EXP1) 1.8935**
ln (EXP2) -0.121**
** Shows significance at 1% level; * Shows significance at 5% level
Dependent variable: ln (Per capita expenditure on food/ consumer price index)
ln (CPI_F) = ln (Stone price index for food/ consumer price index general)
ln (CPI_NF) = ln (Stone price index for non-food/ consumer price index general)
ln (EXP1) = ln (Per capita total expenditure (income)/ consumer price index)
ln (EXP2) = ln (EXP1) x ln (EXP1); F-size = Family size
UR_D = Urban dummy (Urban = 1, otherwise = 0); Year = 1987, 1999
Shinoj & Mathur: Analysis of Demand for Major Spices in India 373
these regions. The own price elasticity was obtained directly from the spices
consumption function and was observed to be –0.66. This provided quite a
logical conclusion that an increase in the prices of spices would lead to
reduction in their consumption.
The expenditure elasticities for spices in 1987 and 1999 by income classes
and across different regions in India were computed from the estimated
models. Separate figures were obtained for the rural and urban households
and are presented in the Tables 3 and 4, respectively. All the estimated
elasticity coefficients were less than one and ranged between 0.37 and
0.61. The inelastic nature of estimated elasticities implied that people in
India gave considerable importance to spices in their diet. A thorough perusal
of these tables revealed that there was a little change in the values of the
Table 2. Estimated spice consumption function (Stage 2)
Standard error t- value
Dependent variable: Spice expenditure (per capita)
ln (SP_P) -0.6607**
ln (EXP_F1) 0.4311*
** Shows significance at 1% level; * Shows significance at 5% level
Dependent variable: Ln (Per capita quantity consumed of spices)
ln (SP_P) = ln (Price of spices/Stone food price index)
ln (EXP_F1) = ln (Per capita food expenditure/ Stone food price index)
ln (EXP_F2) = ln (EXP_F1) x ln (EXP_F1)
F_size = Family size; UR_D = Urban dummy (Urban = 1, otherwise = 0);
Year = Year: 1987, 1999
East = Dummy for the eastern states of India
West = Dummy for the western states of India
North = Dummy for the northern states of India
South = Dummy for the southern states of India
374 Agricultural Economics Research Review Vol.19 July-December 2006
expenditure elasticity of spices over time. This implies that the importance
of spices in the consumers’ food basket had not changed much between the
years 1987 and 1999. In both the rural and urban households, higher values
of elasticities were seen for low-income groups than higher income groups.
For the very poor income class, the elasticity ranged from 0.57 to 0.60 in
various regions, whereas it ranged between 0.37 and 0.44 for the non-poor
high income class.
A comparison of expenditure elasticities of spices across different
regions in India, namely, Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern, from
the Tables 3 and 4, helped in concluding that the elasticity figures showed
little disparity across different regions. In the year 1999, the elasticities
obtained for all the regions ranged between 0.51 and 0.54. This underlined
that consumers across different regions in the country gave equal importance
to spices in their expenditure pattern, though the quantity of consumption
could vary widely across different regions.
The all-India expenditure elasticity for rural households in the year 1999
was 0.53 while it was 0.51 for the urban households in the same year. This
indicated that there was no considerable difference between the rural and
urban households in respect of preference for spices.
The demand analysis, in general, revealed that spices occupy an important
status in the Indian diet which has remained more or less unchanged over
the years. Moreover, spices enjoy dominance irrespective of regions and
economic status of the people in both the rural and urban households, unlike
other food items.
Table 3. Expenditure elasticities of spices across regions and income classes in
rural households in India for 1987 and 1999
Shinoj & Mathur: Analysis of Demand for Major Spices in India 375
Table 4. Expenditure elasticities of spices across regions and income classes in
urban households in India for 1987 and 1999
Very poor (below 75% of the poverty line); Moderately poor (from 75% below the
poverty line to the poverty line); Non-poor low (from the poverty line to 150%
above the poverty line) and Non-poor high (above 150% of the poverty line).
The household consumption demand was projected for the years 2005,
2010 and 2015 for major spices in India by assuming 1999 as the base year
(Table 5). The projections were carried out based on the price and
expenditure elasticities of spices. The projected rural and urban population
and the average price and income growth rates for the years 2005, 2010
and 2015 were employed for the demand projections.
The projected estimates for household consumption demand for total
spices are 3.34 million tonnes, 3.62 million tonnes and 3.90 million tonnes
for the years 2005, 2010 and 2015, respectively, given the base year
consumption demand of 3.02 million tonnes. The analysis revealed a steady
increase in demand for spices in India in the coming years. For chillies, the
projected demand stood at 0.89 million tonnes by the year 2015 from the
current (1999) level of 0.89 million tonnes. All the major spices in India
exhibited a similar upward trend in the coming years. Consumption demand
for ginger was estimated to rise from 0.28 million tonnes in 1999 to 0.37
million tonnes by 2015. The demand for turmeric will jump from 0.43 million
tonnes in 1999 to 0.55 million tonnes by 2015, while demand for black pepper
was projected to increase from 0.04 million tonnes in the base year to 0.06
million tonnes by 2015. Garlic demand was estimated to rise from 0.49
million tonnes to 0.64 million tonnes over these years.
376 Agricultural Economics Research Review Vol.19 July-December 2006
The expenditure elasticities of spices in India have been found positive
and inelastic during the period (1987-88 to 1999-00) under study. The values
of elasticities have not changed significantly over the years. The expenditure
elasticities have been observed to be comparatively higher for lower income
classes, suggesting that a positive income change would motivate consumers
in that class to spend more on spices in comparison to their higher income
counterparts. The elasticity estimates have been found to be almost similar
for both the rural and urban households and across different regions of the
country, indicating the universal importance of spices in the consumption
basket in India. In nutshell, the demand projections have shown that the
household consumption demand for spices is on the increase in the coming
years and hence the sector needs a greater attention in all respects.
Dey, M.M., (2000) Analysis of demand for fish in Bangladesh. Aquaculture
Economics and Management, 4(1/2): 63-81.
GOI, (2002) Economic Survey. Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
Jain, D.K., A. K. Sharma and V. K. Kesavan, (1998) Demand analysis of milk and milk
products in India, NDRI Research Bulletin, Karnal.
Kumar, P., (1998) Food demand and supply projections for India. Agricultural
Economics Policy Paper, 98-01. New Delhi: Indian Agricultural Research
Paroda, R. S. and P. Kumar, (2000) Food production and demand in South Asia.
Agricultural Economics Research Review, 3 (1): 1-24.
Peter, K. V., E. V. Nybe and T. V. Thanuja, (2004) Spices: Future prospects. The Hindu
Survey of Indian Agriculture, 56-59.
Table 5. Projected household consumption demand for spices in India: 2005-2015
Commodity Projected household demand