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As food processing potential increases, US imports turmeric from India
Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Libin Chacko Kurian, Mumbai
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Due to its medicinal properties, turmeric is finding huge potential in the processed food industries of the United States, and importing larger quantities from India, the largest producer of the spice.

According to data by the United Nations, the import of turmeric in the US has tripled from 2008, and the majority of it is from India.

The demand for turmeric has increased due to the realisation of nutritional and medicinal values of this humble spice.

According to reports India’s Spice Board (headquartered in Kochi), the worldwide export of turmeric from India has increased to 60 per cent from 2008.

The US has already started a wide range of research about nutritional and medicinal properties of turmeric.

The spice is used to cure such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Crohn’s disease and even depression.
 
Though turmeric is imported from India, they also plan to cultivate this spice on their land to reach the domestic demand.

“The market for turmeric-based supplements in the US has grown by almost 31 per cent to $108 million,” revealed a recent study by Nutrition Business Journal.

The spice has been termed a super-food in the US processed food market, and a number of companies are now offering products containing turmeric. These are poised to increase in future.

The demand for turmeric supplements is higher in the US beverage sector. Turmeric juice and other food supplements are being increasingly sold in the US market.

The Spice Board of India has identified a huge demand from the Middle-East as well. This would be beneficial to turmeric farmers across India.

An official from the Trade Information Service Department of the Spice Board, said, “The demand for turmeric has increased of late, and we are able to export a better quality of it to these countries.”  

“As the demand is increasing in the US, they have plans to grow their own turmeric to meet the domestic demand,” he added.

The official said, “Only if India can supply high-quality spices consistently, we can stay in the market. Though the market has good potential, only fair players can continue in the market.”

“Unlike other spices, it demands very less attention from the farmer and can fight its own diseases,” he added.

“Then it helps us to fight our diseases also. Thanks to its therapeutic qualities, the demand for turmeric is growing all over the world,” the official stated.

“More than 90 per cent of curcumin, extracted from turmeric, is used to make nutraceuticals and dietary supplements” he added.

S Suresh, assistant director, Spices Board, said, “India is the top producer of turmeric in the world. The Spice Board conducted thorough checks for Sudan and Aflotoxin contamination.”

“This ensured the quality of our spices. The various turmeric-producing states in India were able to produce enough to supply it to the US, the Middle-East, Canada, Japan and Australia,” he added.

The medicinal and nutritional qualities of turmeric, which has been used in Indian cuisine for several years, were revealed centuries ago.
 
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