The herbs, spices and seasonings sector will be worth nearly £80 million by 2003, driven by the consumer trend towards hotter, spicier foods. This is the prediction from British Pepper & Spice, the UK's leading supplier of retail branded herbs and spices. Following steady increases throughout the early 1990s, the retail herbs & spices market saw rapid growth of 5.2% in 1999 to £71 million - and is expected to rise by a further 7.5% over the next three years.Star performers in the sector have been ethnic spices such as turmeric, cumin and cardamom - largely due to the increased consumption of Indian cuisine. For example, sales of British Pepper & Spice curry powder experienced unrelenting growth - 1999 saw a 9.1% year on year value increase.Ian Kelland, sales & marketing director of British Pepper & Spice, says, "Sales of herbs and spices have continued to rise in the face of an apparent decline in traditional home cooking. While pepper holds 27.6% of the market, authentic seasonings such as Cajun and Thai are increasingly popular, as are blends such as Herbes de Provence. "With kitchen cupboards commonly containing between 10 and 30 jars of herbs and spices, heightened interest in exotic cuisine has seen greater experimentation in British kitchens. Consumers are using a far wider range of ethnic seasonings and blends, making this one of the most buoyant areas of the ingredients market."British Pepper & Spice currently has 33% share of the UK herb, spice and seasoning retail market, equating to around £34 million value sales in 1999.For further information please contact:Cath McFaddenBritish Pepper and Spice Press OfficeTel: 020 7373 4537Fax: 020 7373 3926