The spice business is a multi-billion dollar global industry and a significant source of revenue for several countries. The modern spice trade has come a long way from its roots. Today, spice entrepreneurs carry an exhaustive catalog of spices, selling them to wholesale and retail spice customers around the world. But instead of transporting large shiploads of spices, some contemporary spice entrepreneurs leverage the power of the Internet to peddle their products to remote buyers. To effectively go into this line of business you must do thorough research of the industry in your location, your country and internationally. Here are some general tips on how you get started:
Licencing & Food safety: Food safety is always a concern in the spice industry, so you’ll need to make sure your spices and your processes meet minimum safety in your locality or in the international market you target. Research what licensing is required in your area.
Standardize your products: It’s important you measure each ingredient. Customers will expect every package to be exactly the same. Convert your seasoning mix recipes to larger quantities. Determine the ideal size of a batch of seasonings. Some spices are heavier than others and will sink toward the bottom of the mixture while the lighter ones will float towards the top – ensure all ingredients are properly mixed.
Set up a work area: where you will put together your seasonings, package and label the products. Determine if there is enough storage area for the bulk seasonings and to store the ready to sell packages.
Secure adequate supplies: Base your decision on the quality of the product, delivery time, price and shipping costs. Spice industry entrepreneurs need to get acquainted with both the wholesale and retail spice marketplace, and secure supply relationships with manufacturers or distributors of spices from various vendors.
Get creative: You could blend a number of spices that could become your own branded recipe. Look in your kitchen and you’ll likely find some of these ordinary spices that have been branded in attractive packaging and sold under popular brand names. Are there local spices in your area that are sold unbranded in the open market? Are there popular spice blends around you that everybody loves but still have to buy the spices individually to blend them? That may be a good opportunity for you to produce a branded spice product. Prepare attractive packaging bottle, sachet or anything that works for you. Give your product a name to set it apart in the open market.
Marketing Tip: Create marketing materials such as flyers, brochures, and business cards. Consider putting together a recipe booklet with suggestions on how to use your spice packets. Consider giving demonstrations to clubs, associations and women’s groups. Seasonings are lightweight, don’t perish and don’t require much packaging. Selling directly to the customer through a website is a viable option. Contact potential marketplaces such as arts and crafts shows, cookware shops, and upscale grocers – a collaboration with restaurants is key.
Be diligent and thorough in your understanding of the business details – Get started and keep an open mind. Be quick to learn trends and new imaginations in your line of business. Persistence and the determination to succeed are the most important skills you bring to the table.