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Black pepper is a pungent, hot-tasting powdered spice prepared from dried peppercorn commonly used to flavor foods. Black pepper is referred to as the ‘king of spices’ as it contains a number of nutrients such as anti-oxidants. Black pepper has been an important spice in the global trade for millennia and its production and consumption in different regions has shaped the contours of the global black pepper market. Black pepper is often used to relieve an upset stomach or bronchitis and can even be applied directly to skin to treat scabies and neuralgia. The International Pepper Community is an intergovernmental organization of pepper producing nations and aims to co-ordinate, harmonize, and promote all activities pertaining to the global black pepper market.
Antibacterial properties make black pepper vital skincare component
The growth of the worldwide black pepper market is linked to the food processing industry. An increased consumption in confectionaries, bakery products, dried and ready-to-eat products is fueling demand for black pepper. A recent shift towards using natural flavors has benefited the black pepper market. Asian cuisines, already known for using spices, have begun consuming black pepper evermore frequently. Another key trend is the use of black pepper in the cosmetics industry. Due to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, black pepper is widely used in skincare products. This is particularly pronounced in the APAC region as the traditional underpinning of consuming black pepper means that its beneficial properties need not be marketed to customers.
Supply unable to match demand – climate change causing havoc in black pepper market
Although there is sizeable demand in the worldwide black pepper market, it is not backed by an equivalent growth in supply, primarily due to significant crop damage in India and Brazil. Climate change, devastating droughts, and abrupt and intense rainfall has had a devastating impact on black pepper production, resulting in lower yields. The largest producers of black pepper are Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and Brazil with Vietnam able to offer black pepper at the most competitive rate. Black pepper is one of Vietnam’s largest exports with the US taking in a bulk of their imports.
Increasing R&D in inorganic black pepper make it intriguing option
On the basis of type, the black pepper market can be broadly classified into organic and inorganic black pepper. Although inorganic black pepper currently represents a larger proportion of the global black pepper market, inorganic black peppers are expected to demonstrate a higher CAGR and companies are advised to keep a close eye on this lucrative segment. Growing research into inorganic black pepper is likely to make it a critical component in ready-to-eat foodstuffs. Meat producers are also looking at black pepper to increase their production while sustaining quality levels. Regulations are curtailing the use of antibiotics used to increase meat output as this can lead to microbial resistance in humans, making black pepper an appealing alternative.
COVID-19 caused panic buying – when will black pepper market stabilize?
COVID-19 has already had a dramatic impact on the global black pepper market. India, the world’s largest spice producer has already closed its international borders, severely restricting international trade, and Vietnam has followed suit. China, a major buyer of black pepper from both, has recorded a sharp decline in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak. Naturally, this has caused the prices of spices to plummet. The price of Vietnamese black pepper dropped by roughly 10% in one week alone, and importers believe this to be because of panic buying.
In Europe, people started stocking up on spices such as black pepper, ginger, and cardamom before the Easter holiday as demand for baking spices surged. This includes allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. The global pepper market has had to face several hurdles such as supply chain disruptions, social distancing measures, and trade restrictions. The Vietnam Department of Import and Export has recommended that the local black pepper industry should improve its processing stage to enhance product value. This will help the country become even more competitive in the black pepper market when the world slowly emerges out of its COVID-19 induced shell.
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