We all use spices to add flavor to our food. From the busy mom looking for a shortcut in the kitchen to a gourmet chef looking to add a new twist to their recipes, there is a spice for everyone.

But did you know that the target market for spices includes people and organizations other than the most obvious – ie those who cook?

For example, did you know that there are people who use spices to help them detox? Or that some people use them for their medicinal value? Or as a skin conditioner? Or even in aromatherapy?

If this surprises you, keep reading because in this article we will review not just the most obvious target market for spices but also the more unlikely ones.


The Target Market for Spices: Who Buys and Why?

If you are considering getting into the spice business – either as a farmer, a manufacturer, a wholesaler or a retailer, you will need to understand the target market for spices and how they use spices in their daily lives and businesses.

In this section, we are going to segment the target market for spices based on the different reasons why individuals and organizations buy and use spices.

The top market segments for spices include:

  1. People who cook at home
  2. Professional chefs
  3. Restaurants
  4. Caterers
  5. Food manufacturers
  6. Spice companies
  7. Retailers that sell spices
  8. People who use spices for health reasons
  9. People who use spices for beauty purposes
  10. Aromatherapists

Let’s look at each of these segments a bit closely.

1. People who cook at home

The most obvious and most prevalent group of people who buy spices are those of us who cook meals at home.

We use spices to add flavor to our food and to make the cooking process more interesting.

There are a wide variety of recipes that require different kinds of spices, which is why the primary target market for spices includes people who cook at home.

2. Professional chefs

When it comes to the use of spices, professional chefs are not that different than people who cook at home except that they tend to use spices in greater quantities, with more frequency, and perhaps with more creativity.

This is because chefs have a greater understanding of how flavors work together and how to use spices to create new and interesting flavor profiles.

The target market for spices also includes professional chefs who work in restaurants, catering companies, and food manufacturing companies.

3. Restaurants

Restaurants are an important target market for spices not just because they may buy spices in large quantities but also because they may experiment with exotic lesser-known spices.

Chefs working in restaurants are always trying to create signature dishes to differentiate their menu from that of a competing restaurant. And one way to do so is to invent flavors, which is sometimes best done by combining different spices in creative ways.

And all sorts of restaurants need spices – Seafood restaurants, Italian restaurants, Indian restaurants, vegan/ vegetarian restaurants, etc.

4. Caterers

Like restaurants, catering companies are also in the business of preparing food for their clients. But unlike restaurants, caterers often have to invent new recipes regularly because that’s what people often look for with caterers.

For instance, a wedding couple may ask a caterer to invent items on a menu that have never been tried before. A caterer might invent new tastes and let the couple try them out before getting their order.

Similarly, a caterer for a company gathering may be asked to come up with foods that tie in with the event’s theme and may need to come up with new tastes.

And this makes caterers an important segment of the target market for spices.

5. Food manufacturers

Another target market for spices is food manufacturers. These are the companies that make our favorite packaged foods such as cereals, soups, and snacks.

These companies use spices to add flavor and aroma to the processed foods they produce.

Food manufacturers produce food in large quantities and so they need to buy spices in large quantities as well. So if you have a small store or a small spice farm this may not be the easiest market for you to target.

Many global food manufacturers will also source directly from large farms or farms in Asia or Africa where spices are grown inexpensively. Some food manufacturers will even own their proprietary farms.

This makes food manufacturers an important target market for spices but not an easy one for small businesses to go after.

6. Spice companies

The final target market we will review is the spice companies themselves.

While it may seem counterintuitive, these companies are actually some of the largest users and consumers of spices.

This is because these companies use spices to produce other products such as spice blends, curry powders, and chili powders.

These products are then sold to the other target markets we have discussed. So if you want to target the spice companies themselves, you will need to be able to produce large quantities of spices at a low cost.

7. Retailers that sell spices

If you are a spice manufacturer, a classic customer for you will be a retail store that sells spices. Most retail stores look for a variety of spices to sell in their stores. They may not carry large quantities but they often need a wide selection to offer their customers.

For example, a grocery store might want to carry 50 different types of spices while a gourmet food shop might want to carry 200 different types. But regardless of the size of the retail operation, they will need to replenish their stock regularly which makes them a good target market for your business.

8. People who use spices for health reasons

A lesser-known use of spices is for making health products. Some people use spices such as ginger, turmeric, and garlic not just for flavor but also because these spices have medicinal properties.

Companies use these same spices in their products which range from creams and lotions to herbal remedies and teas.

The target market for spices that are looking for health benefits from spice consumption often looks for spices that are organic and free of chemicals. They may also be willing to pay more for these types of spices.

So if you sell spices that are marketed as being healthy, then this is a target market you could consider.

This segment of the target market for spices overlaps, in general, with the target market for organic products as well as the target market for green tea.

(If you’re up to reading a highly technical article on the benefits of turmeric, also called curcumin, here’s a research article published by the National Academy of Sciences)

9. People who use spices for beauty purposes

Another surprising use of spices is in beauty products. It’s not uncommon in parts of Asia to find women using turmeric as a facial mask. In fact, turmeric is commonly used in natural skin care products.

Cloves are also used in some parts of the world in a beauty treatment. And cinnamon is used as an exfoliant in some countries.

So if you sell spices that have perceived beauty benefits, then this segment of the market could be interesting to you.

10. Aromatherapists

Finally, we have aromatherapists – another less obvious target market for spices.

Aromatherapists use essential oils which are made from plants and herbs. These oils are used in a variety of ways such as in diffusers, to make soaps, candles and even in some foods.

So if you sell spices that can be used together with essential oils to build aromatherapy products, then this target market could be a good one for you.

And so, aromatherapists are not just a target market for spices but equally for manufacturers of essential oils and scented candles.

So you could consider partnering with such manufacturers to reach a common market. For instance, candle manufacturers often seek out spices (in liquid form) like clove and cinnamon to add to their aromatic candles.


As you have seen, the target market for spices isn’t limited to those who cook – either at home or professionally. Spices have been used for thousands of years for health and beauty enhancements and these benefits are now being rediscovered, repackaged and globalized. Spices are being put in beauty products, skin treatments, aromatic candles and teas.

If you are considering growing or making your own spices or carrying spices in your store, make sure you understand who your real target market is. Who are you catering to? And what are they looking for in the spices they plan to buy? Make sure you are clear about the answers to these questions before venturing out into this market.

Understanding your target market’s needs, carrying the products they are most likely to buy, and crafting the right marketing and communication strategies are unavoidable parts of the recipe for success in this market.