SPICE LEADERSHIP… OF SORTS

Over centuries, cinnamon has lost its importance among Sri Lankan exports. Competitors are filling in for growing global demand

Harvested inner barks of the native Ceylon cinnamon tree have long-dominated the international cinnamon market. It’s widely used in food and beverage for flavouring, colour and for health benefits. Despite fears, cinnamon varieties like Cassia from China and Vietnamese cinnamon haven’t eroded Sri Lanka’s global market position. Cinnamon is the country’s third-largest agricultural export and commands an 85% global market share. However, Sri Lanka’s cinnamon export crop size is static. Unlike centuries ago, when Arabs kept secret their source of cinnamon sold in the Mediterranean and Europe to protect a monopoly in its trade, the product is widely available in supermarkets the world over. So it does not command the relatively high price it once did as an exotic spice. One of its fastest emerging uses is in beauty treatments and products.

16%

(annual growth)
Market research firm Technavio’s forecast for the global cinnamon market to 2021

23%

Increase in Sri Lanka’s land used for cinnamon cultivation in the decade to 2015

81%

Share of the export price Sri Lankan cinnamon producers receive