2. Nutmeg and mace - European union overview

Product Description

CN 0908.10-10

Nutmegs for industrial manufacture of essential oils or resinoids

CN 0908.10-90

Crushed or ground nutmeg

CN 0908.20-10

Mace, excluding crushed or ground

CN 0908.20-90

Crushed or ground mace

Imports of Nutmeg and Mace (aggregates in metric tons)


The major importers within the European Union (KU) are:

- Nutmegs imported for industrial use: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Denmark;
- Crushed or ground nutmeg: Netherlands, Germany;
- Mace, excluding crushed or ground: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium-Luxembourg;
- Crushed or ground mace: Netherlands, Belgium-Luxembourg, United Kingdom, France.

Details are provided in the statistical annex.

Market Profile

The EU is the largest import market for nutmeg and mace. However, demand for nutmegs is not very price-sensitive and the falling prices have not led to increased imports. This is due to the fact that demand in traditional end-use sectors has not grown.

In general, importers prefer whole nutmegs and mace of the East Indian variety. However, because of historical reasons, the West Indian varieties have held a strong position in the United Kingdom. Much of the imports to the Netherlands are re-exported, to the United States but mostly within the European Union.

Market Access

Imports of nutmeg and mace are subject to the following customs tariffs in the EU:

Table 3: Customs Tariffs in the EU for Imports of Nutmeg and Mace

Tariff heading

Duty-MFN rate









Source: Worldtariff Ltd

Imports from less developed developing countries (LDCs) are exempt from customs duties.

The following value-added tax (VAT) rates are levied on imports of food products:























(Rates for Portugal were not available.)

High quality is of prime importance for importers of nutmeg and mace. Separate national standards have been issued to obtain the desired level of quality:


Spices Decree

United Kingdom:

BS 7087:14


NF V32-125

However, most European traders prefer the ASTA (American Spice Trade Association) Cleanliness Specifications which are regarded as stricter than other national standards. The most common complaints on imports of nutmeg concerns aflatoxin in the Netherlands and in Germany, and salmonella in the United Kingdom. Recently, much attention has been given to the irradiation of spices. Although no regulations exist, customers prefer non-irradiated spices. Likewise, the use of environmentally friendly methods for cultivating the spices is becoming a niche market.

Distribution Channels

Main dealers are located in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London and Hamburg. Dealers in the Netherlands are to a large extent processors and re-exporters to the United States and within the European Union.

For retail trade of nutmeg in the Netherlands, the whole nutmeg must be limed, i.e. coated with chalk; this is almost entirely carried out by importers.


Recommended packaging is described under World Overview. For labelling in the EU market, the following requirements need to be fulfilled:

- name of the product
- any care conditions
- country of origin
- instructions for use
- name of the manufacturer or distributor
- special storage conditions
- metric requirements

It is advisable to write labels in at least two official languages of the European Union.

Commercial Practices

Initial contacts are usually made by fax or telex. Samples of the spice are sent and, subsequent to acceptance, an agreement between buyer and seller can be settled using a standard contract. In the Netherlands the contract is issued by the Dutch Spice Association, and in the United Kingdom the contract terms are settled by the International General Produce Association. Whether traded on an FOB or CIF basis is subject to negotiation.

Sales Promotion

Marketing missions and promotional materials are the most common means of promotion. In addition, advertisements can be placed in specialised magazines such as "Perfumer & Flavorist", "Meat Industry" and "Foodnews". Trade fairs of interest are Slavakto, Horecava and FIE in the Netherlands, Anuga in Germany, and SIAL in France (see Useful addresses).

Market Prospects

The prospects for the trade of nutmeg and mace in the EU are not promising for new suppliers from countries other than Indonesia and Grenada. An increase in the use of oleoresins does not seem likely because of the relatively conservative attitude of the European food processing industry. The British industry differs on this point which could lead to a rise in the consumption in the United Kingdom.

Useful addresses

1. Associations

Spice Trade & Seasoning Manufacturers Association
6 Catherine Street
London WC2B 5JJ
United Kingdom
Tel: (071) 836 2460
Tel: (071) 836 0580

Nederlandse Zuidvruchten vereniging
Bezuidenhoutseweg 82 822594 AX Den Haag
Tel: (70) 383 3011
Fax: (70) 347 5253

Syndicat National des Triturateurs-Conditionneurs Poivres et Epices
8, rue d'Isly
75008 Paris
Tel: (1) 45 22 28 15
Fax: (1) 43 87 85 40

Waren-Verein der Hamburger Börse Plan 5
2000 Hamburg 1
Tel: (040) 326 414
Fax: (040) 322 639

2. Standards

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
1, rue de Varembé
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: (022) 749 0111
Fax: (022) 733 3430

Codex Alimentarius Commission
Via delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome
Tel: (6) 57 971
Fax: (6) 5797 3152

3. Import Promotion Offices (assist exporters in developing countries)

Bank House
Sutton Court Road
Sutton, Surrey SM1 4SP
United Kingdom
Tel: (081) 643 3311
Fax: (081) 643 8030

10, Avenue d'Iéna
75016 Paris
Tel: (1) 40 73 30 67
Fax: (1) 40 73 39 69

Pro-Trade/GTZ GmbH
Dag Hammarskjöldsweg 1-5
6236 Eschborn
Tel: (6196) 790
Fax:(6196) 797 414

P.O. Box 30009
3001 DA Rotterdam
Tel: (010) 201 3434
Fax: (010) 4114081

4. Trade fairs


Slavakto (meat industry)
The Royal Netherlands Industries Fairs
P.O. Box 8500
3505 RM Utrecht
Tel: (30) 955 911
Fax: (30) 940 379

Horecava (catering industry)
RAI gebouw
Europaplein 8
1078 GZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: (20) 549 1212
Fax: (20) 4644 6910

FIE (Unground products for foodstuff industry)
Expoconsult Maarsen
Industrieweg 54
P.O. Box 200
2600 AE Maarsen
Tel: (3465) 73 777
Fax: (3465) 73 811


Anuga - Central Marketing Gesellschaft de Deutschen Agrar Wirtschaft
Koblenzerstrasse 148
5300 Bonn-bad Godesberg
Tel: (228) 8470
Fax: (228) 847202


SIAL - Salon International de l'Alimentation
39, rue de la Bien Naissance
75008 Paris
Tel: (1) 42 89 46 87
Fax: (1) 42 89 46 94

3. Nutmeg and mace - USA

Product Description

HSTUSA 0908.10-0000


HSTUSA 0908.20-2000

Mace, 'bombay' or wild, ground

HSTUSA 0908.20-4000

Mace nes

Imports of Nutmeg and Mace (aggregates in metric tons)

Market Profile

The USA is the largest individual market for whole nutmegs. Importers of the United States prefer the East Indian variety of deep-brown, aromatic nutmegs and orange-red mace in their whole form. Indonesia has traditionally been the principal supplier of nutmegs and mace to the US market, accounting on average for 65% of total US imports of nutmegs per year in terms of volume. It is also the main supplier of mace. (See statistical annex for details.) Following talks between ASPIN and GCNA in 1993, Indonesia has agreed to allow Grenada greater access to the US market. The outcome, however, depends on the processors' reaction on the US side and the Grenadian producers' ability to satisfy market requirements.

The US food and beverage industry is one of the largest in the world with a correspondingly high consumption of spices and their oleoresins and essential oils. One of the uses of nutmeg oil is in the manufacture of soft drinks, specifically Coca-Cola. The US food and drink market is also one of the most highly developed in terms of innovation in flavourings, fast foods and the ethnic foods sector.

Market Access

Imports of nutmeg and mace are subject to the following customs charges:

Table 4: Customs Charges in USA for Imports of Nutmeg and Mace

Tariff heading



0908.10-0000 Nutmegs



0908.20-2000 Mace, 'Bombay' or wild, ground

16.5¢/kg *


0908.20-4000 Mace nes



Source: Worldtariff Ltd
* The MFN rate was lowered to 12.4¢ per kg (31 December 1993)

Other charges include a Merchandise Processing Fee (0.19% of FOB value) and a Harbour Maintenance Fee (0.125% of FOB value). In addition, general sale and use taxes are levied at the state level (rates differ from state to state).

The American Spice Trade Association issues ASTA Cleanliness Specifications which set the quality requirements necessary to enter the US market. The major complaints on the part of US importers has been the presence of insect fragments in shipments of nutmegs. As in the KU, non- irradiated spices are preferred.

Distribution Channels

The main brokers and dealers in spices are located in New York; the main ports of entry are New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Up to the 1980s, the traditional distribution chain for spices was from exporter to importer via a US agent. At the national level the distribution channel was:

Importer ® broker ® grinder/prccessor ®

(i) wholesaler

(ii) retailer

(iii) food processor.

Since then, direct purchase from source has reduced the number of intermediaries in the chain.

Exporters should note that official ASTA contracts are used. US dealers prefer C&F quotations, in general.

Market Prospects

Consumer trends for health foods, ethnic cuisine and fast foods, in addition to the need for constant innovation in the food industry, all indicate that consumption of spices and spice oleoresins, in general, will continue to grow. This is reflected in the fact that the food industry and institutional outlets consume up to 65% of imported spices as opposed to 40% a decade ago. This implies a growing 'prepared foods' market and increased demand from the restaurant and catering sector. Therefore any growth in these two sectors will have a direct influence on imports of spices, and to a lesser extent of nutmegs and mace.

Useful addresses

American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) Inc.
580 Sylvan Avenue
P.O. Box 1267
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Tel: (201) 568-2163
Fax: (201) 568-7318

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Agricultural Marketing Service
Washington, D.C. 20250
Tel: (202) 720-4276
Fax: (202) 720-8477

Flavour and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States
1620 I St., NW, Suite 925
Washington D.C. 20006
Tel: (202) 293-5800
Fax: (202) 463-8998

4. Nutmeg and mace - Japan

Product Description

JHS 0908.10-100

Nutmeg put up in containers for retail sale

JHS 0908.10-210

Nutmeg, neither crushed or ground, not put up in containers for retail sale

JHS 0908.10-220

Nutmeg, crushed or ground, not put up in containers for retail sale

JHS 0908.20-210

Mace, neither crushed or ground, not put up in containers for retail sale

JHS 0908.20-220

Mace, crushed or ground, not put up in containers for retail sale

Imports of Nutmeg and Mace (aggregates in metric tons)

Main suppliers

Japan's major supplier of nutmegs and mace is Indonesia, accounting on average for 93% of total imports. Other suppliers include Malaysia, India and Singapore. See statistical annex for details.

Source: Japan Exports & Imports, Commodity by Country, Japan Tariff Association

Market Profile

The Japanese import market for spices is the largest in the Asia-Pacific region; but per capita consumption is lower than in Europe or in the United States. However, with the tremendous growth in popularity of spicy foods, specifically Indian, consumption is expected to increase. Nutmegs and mace are used in the manufacture of curry powder.

The main end-user is the food processing industry. Nutmegs and mace and their oleoresins and essential oils are used in the preparation of meat products, soups, sauces and baked goods. An interesting feature of the Japanese market is the growth in the 'instant' and fast food sectors.

For spices in general, imports have increased over the last ten years, mainly for use in the food processing industry, but a non-traditional spice such as nutmeg has not benefited from this trend. Whole mace, on the other hand, has been imported in increasing quantities, partly due to its greater use in the manufacture of curry powder.

Market Access

Whole nutmegs and mace are imported free of charge into Japan. Products put up in containers for retail sale are subject to a tariff of 4.2%.

The Quarantine System and Plant Protection Law and the Food Sanitation Act set the quality standards for nutmeg and mace. The main complaint concerning imported nutmegs has been the aflatoxin content. Spices may not be irradiated nor is it permissible use ethylene oxide gas to disinfect spices.

Distribution Channels

Importers supply food processors, grinders/processors and essential oil and oleoresin manufacturers. These in turn supply the different end-use sectors such as curry manufacturers.

Packaging and Labelling

The Japanese customer is very demanding regarding packaging, particularly concerning environmental protection. Lettering size is prescribed for labels which must include:

- name of the product
- name and address of the manufacturer or seller
- net contents
- date of manufacture

Market Prospects

The Japanese market is a promising one for spices given the changing lifestyles. More women are working in Japan today which increases the need for 'instant' and 'oven to table' type meals. Greater demand for non-traditional spices such as nutmeg and mace is probable in the food and drink sector with the consumer trend towards French, Italian and Indian cuisine.

To increase household consumption, "user-friendly" spices, spice mixes and attractive retail packaging are necessary. Exporters should coordinate with Japanese distributors and retailers in this area. Furthermore, a growing interest for international foods, trade liberalisation and a stronger yen could have favourable implications for imports of nutmegs and mace.

Useful addresses

All Nippon Spice Association
Boeki Bldg., 4F
123 Higashi-machi
Kobe 651-01
Tel: (078) 321 8431
Fax: (078) 321 8460

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
2-5, Toranomon 2-chome
Tokyo 105
Tel: (03) 3582 5173
Fax: (03) 3585 5027

5. Nutmeg and mace - India

The fiscal year in India extends from April to March. Data for March 1991 to April 1992 are reported as "1991" in the figure below.

Imports of Nutmeg and Mace (aggregates in metric tons)

Source: Statistics of the Foreign Trade of India by Country. For details, see statistical annex.

Main Suppliers

The principal suppliers to the Indian market for nutmegs and mace are Indonesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka; over the years their relative positions have changed.

Market Profile

India's domestic production of nutmegs is insufficient to meet local demand and is therefore supplemented by imports. East Indian nutmegs and mace are traditionally preferred because of geographic proximity and their particular flavouring qualities which are more suitable for Indian foods.

Market Access

The recent trade liberalization reforms in India have to a great extent reduced customs duties and virtually eliminated non-ad valorem charges on imports. Nevertheless, duties remain high - imports of nutmegs and mace are subject to an ad valorem tax of 65%. However, preferences are accorded on an item by item basis, specifically for industries which are of particular importance such as food and beverages.

Shipments of nutmegs and mace should be accompanied by a general sanitary certificate. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) can provide details on specifications for the Indian marker (see Useful addresses); minimum standards comply with those issued by ISO.

Distribution Channels

As India is one of the major producers and exporters of spices in general, exporters and food processors usually act as importers when local production is insufficient to meet domestic demand.

Exporters are advised to appoint agents either on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis to handle all matters dealing with the marketing, including sales promotion, and distribution of goods within the country. The major market centres are Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and New Delhi.

Packaging and Labelling

India's principal ports are located in the central and southern parts of country. Packaging should therefore take into account climatic conditions and protect the goods from dampness, heat, exposure to sun and rain, insects, fungus and mold. Labelling should be in English and a minimum lettering size of 2 millimetres should be used for the country of origin. Labels should indicate:

- country/place of production or the name and address of the manufacturer,
- whether the goods were partly or wholly produced/processed in more than one country.
- the names of both countries where the goods were produced in one country and the packaging made in another.

In addition, there are standards in effect for marking and labelling related to weights and measures for imports packaged for retail sale.

Commercial Practices

Indian importers are required to obtain a Code Number, issued by the Regional Licensing Authority, Chief Controller of Imports & Exports. Import licenses are issued on a CIF basis, issued in duplicates and valid for a period of 18 to 24 months. Payment should be made in the form of a letter of credit, payable in favour of the supplier against presentation of shipping documents through the importer's bank.

Market Prospects

The Indian market is considered to be one of the top ten emerging markets in the world and as such presents very positive prospects for imports in general. This combined with a growing middle class, estimated at 200 million people with a substantial purchasing power, and a corresponding demand growth in the food and drink sector, should all positively affect demand for spices in general. In addition, the food processing industry has been declared a priority domestic economic sector.

Useful addresses

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
9, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg
NEW DELHI 110 002
Tel: (11) 331 0131
Tlx: 031-65870
Fax: (11) 331 4062

Ministry of Commerce
Udyog Bhawan
Maulana Azad Road
NEW DELHI 110 001
Tel: (11) 301 1938

Indian Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO)
Pragati Bhawan
Pragati Maidan
Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg
NEW DELHI 110 001
Tel: (11) 332 8239
Fax: (11) 3318142