Other Condiments & Spices


A condiment is a substance (sauce, seasoning or vegetable) that is used to add flavour to food. Examples include mustard, ketchup, pepper sauce, barbecue sauce and pickle.  Spices are the aromatic parts or seasonings of various plants and trees traditionally used to flavour food. Sometimes the term condiments is used to include spices.

Apart from flavouring food many spices are used for other purposes, such as in medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery.

Popular spices include:

  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Nutmeg
  • Mace
  • Cardamom
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • saffron
  • turmeric

And some spices come from the bark or roots of certain plants, but the majority are berries, seeds, or dried fruits.

Although spices have been used since ancient times, they are playing a new and important role in modern food preparation. They not only add unique flavours to our food, but contribute colour and variety as well. Certain spices and herbs used alone, or in blends, can replace or reduce salt and sugar in foods. Spices add very little nutritive value to foods and are generally low in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol.

Origin of spices

Some spices such as allspice and chilies are native to parts of the Caribbean and Central America. While many of the world’s spices originated in tropical areas, over time, spices that originated in Asia were cultivated in Africa and the Caribbean.

Spices were also brought from Central America and cultivated in Asia and Africa. Presently, some countries specialise in the cultivation of specific spices. For instance:

  • black pepper, chili peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are cultivated in tropical climates
  • other spices are generally cultivated in temperate climates
  • Grenada is famous for nutmeg, being the world’s second largest producer

Current situation

The main CARICOM exporters in herbs and spices currently are:

  • Belize
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • Guyana
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago

The main spices and condiment crops produced in the CARICOM countries are:

The Caribbean has achieved some success in providing world class condiment and spice products to regional and global markets such as Angostura Bitters and Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning. However, Dr. André Gordon of CFS Technological Solutions Limited &TSL Technical Services Limited in a presentation to CARICOM entitled Herbs and Spices: Challenges and Investment Opportunities says that making further inroads in these markets requires a detailed understanding of the existing production capabilities and the requirements for each product category in the specific markets being targeted. He notes that successfully capitalising on opportunities will necessitate a different approach to what has traditionally been the case.

Challenges faced

Dr. Gordon goes on to say that most of the enterprises operating within this sector are micro and small business which face a myriad of challenges. Collectively, he says, the sector will need to derive greater value from product differentiation, targeting of products to specific market niches and branding, among others. 

Business case

Why invest in the production of condiments and spices?

CARICOM’s condiments and spices sector has strong export and growth potential. According to a Private Sector Trade Note by the Office of Trade Negotiations, sauces/mixed condiments trade is a robust international business opportunity for a number of reasons:

  • The industry represents what can arguably be seen as one success story of value retention with the region making some achievements at migrating to the higher value layers of production
  • Exporters have been accessing more non‐traditional markets, an indicator of growing levels of internationalization


  • The herbs, spices sauces and condiments sub-sector has been identified as one of the sectors providing very good opportunities for growth and development
  • Diversified markets exist for spice offerings through the personal care, craft and giftware in Grenada, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominica, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Installed capacity for significant expansion in value-added production of relatively easy to produce high demand herbs, sauces and spices items in some countries exists

Condiment producers and processors

There are a number of condiment processors across the Caribbean including:


Share it now!