Friday, December 1, 2023 | 00:19 WIB

Spicing up the world, Indonesia spices the national spice trade


Jakarta, IO – Did you know that during the colonial era, a kilo of Indonesian spices (cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, turmeric and others) was worth more back in Europe than a kilogram of gold? It’s a fact – and the reason for the centuries-long spice trade with the Indies.

Indonesia’s herbs and spices have a great marketing potential across the globe. Over the centuries, we have been exporting spices to countries as varied in distance and culture as Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia, and even Scandinavian countries. Indonesia Spice Up the World (“ISUTW”) is a colossal program involving Indonesian corporations, academicians, communities, media, and its Central and Regional Governments as well. It is meant to promote and encourage the national culinary and spice business in foreign countries. It targets 4,000 Indonesian restaurants and diners abroad, with the purpose of increasing the value of our herb and spice exports to USD 2 billion by the end of 2024.

The ISUTW Program has four vertical pillars: processed spices, seasoning, and food products; Indonesian restaurants; Indonesian culinary promotional activities; and Indonesian culinary tourism destination activities. The first pillar concerns the funding, production, expertise, packaging, and exhibition of processed spice, seasoning, and food products. The second pillar concerns the transformation of Indonesian restaurants abroad. It covers redesign, promotion, procurement of skilled kitchen and wait staff, the securing of ingredients, and collaborations with suppliers. It also concerns standardization of taste and hygiene quality levels. The third pillar is about promoting our cuisine, whether through festivals, digital content, media collaboration events, exhibitions, or conference forums. The final pillar is about promoting Indonesia itself as a culinary tourism destination, which includes the creation of thematic travel plans, preparation of specific sites as gastronomic destination, and the creation of supporting culinary destination sites, products, and content.

To promote the Indonesia Spice Up The World program, the Indonesian Food and Beverage Producers Association (Gabungan Produsen Makanan Minuman Indonesia – GAPMMI) invited 18 herb and spice micro, small, and medium businesses to participate in the Fi Asia and Vitafoods Asia Exhibition at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Bangkok, on 20-22 September 2023.
In a special interview, GAPMMI General Chairman for the 2020-2025 period Adhi S. Lukman declared that food and beverage businesses will continue to grow if they innovate. “This is extremely important. We have proven that our members who constantly innovate grow their businesses much faster. This is why we constantly preach about innovation,” he said.

Adhi went on to inform that food ingredients are a major key to innovation and success in the food and beverage industry. “New ingredients, along with new processes, will generate new products and increase our competitiveness.

GAPMMI’s duty is to facilitate the growth and development of micro, small, and medium F & B businesses, among others by organizing exhibitions like this. We want to showcase new uses and new ingredients that differentiate our products in the global market,” he declared.

For his part, Irwan S. Widjaja, Chairman of GAPMMI’s Guidance and Development of Micro, Small, and Medium Business Committee, explained that the participation of our micro, small, and medium businesses in the Fi Asia and Vitafoods Asia is part of the Organization’s strategy to spice up our seasonings trade “There are eight gates to the world’s markets Dubai, Hong Kong, South Africa, the Netherlands, Türkiye, Singapore, New Zealand, and the US. Let’s say we’ve gained a foothold in the Australian spice market. That would open up the New Zealand, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea markets to us. The US is a doubledoor region that has two gateways, the Eastern and Western US. The West US region is centered in Los Angeles, and it extends all the way to Mexico and Hawai’i. Meanwhile, the East US region is centered in Florida, with a market that includes Canada and Latin America countries – Peru, Chile, Brazil,” he said.

The world’s largest spice markets are India and China. “China has a huge need for processed condiments, while India requires more raw commodities. Why? Because Indian cuisine has a unique, strongly complex taste, and they prefer to process the spices and seasonings by themselves,” Irwan declared. “On the other hand, Europe and the US have their own suite of spices and seasonings that’s very different from ours. They don’t need much of our produce for foodstuff, but they use a lot of ginger, cinnamon, clove, etc. to spice up their drinks. They only use things like pepper for their food, or the same sort of spices for their desserts and baked goods. Also, tobacco for cigarettes in the US.”

Irwan hopes that by having our businesses participate in the Fi Asia and Vitafoods Asia exhibition, the world will awaken to the fact that the planet’s spice center is Indonesia. “In fact, let me tell you that even Vietnam and Thailand buy their spices from us too. Then they re-package into spice mixes and label them ‘made in Vietnam’ or ‘made in Thailand’,” he stated.
Vivi Widyana, CEO and founder of Billiton Spice, also participated in the Exhibition. “My friends and I are much helped with the Government’s excellent support,” she said. “Our top products are black and white pepper. Indonesian peppercorns are unique that they have different characteristic scents and spiciness. For example, white pepper from the Toba region is vastly different from the Maluku one. This richness is what differentiate Indonesian spices from that of other countries. Also, peppercorn’s character is part strength and type of aroma, part spiciness. Peppercorn spiciness in general is in the 2.8-3.2 range. However, Billiton is in the 5.6-7.2 range.”

Indonesia is not the only country that produces herbs and spices. However, the quality of our products is among the best in the world. Therefore, Vivi aggressively introduces our spices to as many countries as possible. “We collaborate, cooperate, and strive together to introduce the uniqueness and quality of Indonesian spices,” she declared proudly.

Similar to the other expo participants, Rosita Wibawa of Alam Bijak, the brand of herbal beverages and natural products produced by PT Taraporter Indonesia, hopes that their participation will help them reach a bigger market, and can introduce innovative, sustainable herbal products to more consumers worldwide.

In any case, expo participants across the board acknowledged GAPMMI’s contribution to the generation of new experiences and export markets for Indonesian spice and seasoning startups and small businesses. They all express their appreciation of GAPMMI and Government support and facilities, which allow Indonesian businesses to spice up the world. (des)


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