Sauces, spices, and condiments: definitions, potential benefits, consumption patterns, and global markets

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Sep;1379(1):3-16. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13045. Epub 2016 May 6.


Spices and condiments are an important part of human history and nutrition, and have played an important role in the development of most cultures around the world. According to the Codex Alimentarius, the category of salts, spices, soups, sauces, salads, and protein products includes substances added to foods to enhance aroma and taste. Spices have been reported to have health benefits as antioxidant, antibiotic, antiviral, anticoagulant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory agents. Health claims about the benefits of condiments for disease prevention or health improvement need to be science based and extensively supported by evidence; data on their preventive or protective potential in humans are currently limited. The condiments market has been growing continuously over the last few years, with the quantity of products sold under the category of sauces, dressings, and condiments during the period 2008-2013 increasing from 31,749,000 to 35,795,000 metric tons. About 50 of the 86 spices produced in the world are grown in India. From 2008 to 2013, the United States was the largest importer of spices, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Russia. The main buyers of fish sauce are Vietnam and Thailand, with purchases of 333,000 and 284,000 metric tons in 2013, respectively. The sauces and condiments category is dynamic, with large differences in consumption in habits and practices among countries. This paper aims to establish definitions and discuss potential health benefits, consumption patterns, and global markets for sauces, spices, and condiments.

Keywords: condiments; consumption; global markets; sauces; spices.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / economics
  • Condiments* / economics
  • Eating*
  • Food, Fortified / economics
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Marketing / economics
  • Marketing / trends*
  • Soy Foods* / economics
  • Spices* / economics


  • Antioxidants