The leading gainers among the imports were bay leaves (+ 170%), dill (+64%), red pepper (+64%), fennel seed (+38%), anise seed (+31%), celery seed (+29%), and cinnamon (+28%).
Spice consumption has increased steadily since WWII. However, some of the largest gains have come in more recent years. The nation's average consumption in the past five years has been 676,616,000 pounds, compared to 547,812,000 in the previous five years and 452,940,000 a decade ago.
The American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) sees many factors contributing to the larger spice usage today: foods, especially in restaurants and manufactured food products; the boom in such regional favorites as cajun, creole, and southwestern; the consumer's aversion to salt, fat, and calories which demands heavier spicing to make healthier, but boring, foods taste good; and the trend to "all natural" ingredients for both color and flavor (Spice World, June 1990).
Article copyright American Botanical Council.