Since   time  immemorial,  spices  have  played  a  vital  role  in  world  trade,   due  to  their varied  properties   and  applications.   We   primarily    depend  on   spices  for  flavour  and fragrance as well as colour, preservative and inherent medicinal qualities.

India,  with  its    favourable    climatic   and  soil  conditions  for  growing  spices  and other semi – tropical  herbs,   is  in   the  fore-front   among   the   spice-producing  countries. The  spices  that    India  can   offer    in     abundant   quantities  are  Pepper,  Ginger, Turmeric,  Chilli,   Cardamom,    Celery,    Fenugreek,   Fennel,  Cumin,   Dill,   Coriander,   Cinnamon, Ajowan, Cassia,  Cloves, Nutmeg and Mace.

Spice  extracts   were   developed   to   meet  the  new  demands  of  the  Food Processing Industry. They have the following advantages:

  • Consistency in flavour.
  • Not affected by Bacterial contamination.
  • Much longer shelf life.
  • Easier storage and handling.
  • Full release of flavour during cooking.
  • Can easily be blended to achieve the desired characteristics.

The   Food   Industry    across   the    globe   is    turning   more   and   more   to  spice   oils  and   oleoresins    to    create    newer    varieties    of    food.   New     flavour    systems  are  being   developed   to     introduce    new    products   in    the market and  create competitive advantages.  The  Indian spice  oils  and  oleoresin  industry is  engaged in  continuous innovation   and  upgradation of process and products to meet the new  global demand.





Spice : Oleoresin(1:X)

                                             X(Average)     X (Range) 

Capsicum (Chilli)


10 – 50



8 – 25

Celery Seed


18 – 25



17 – 40



5 – 18



8 – 33






20 – 28



2 – 17



8 – 25


(no colour value)




Spice Oils

On steam distillation, the  spices yield their volatile constituents. The essential oils thus  obtained  are  endowed with the major  part  of the  spice flavour and fragrance properties.

Spice  oils,  although characterised  on  the  basis of  their  physicochemical properties,  including glc  and spectrophotometric characteristics, are ultimately    judged   by   sensory   and    olefactory evaluation. Depending   on   the   final   environment   of  use  for  the   spice   oil,   the   standards of quality  required  will  differ   and  this  would demand  of  the  manufacturer to tailor oils to the customer’s  exact requirements.

Spice Oleoresins

The oleoresins,containing all the volatile as well as non-volatile constituents of the spices,most closely represent the total flavour of the fresh spice,most closely represent the total flavour of the fresh spice in a highly concentrated form.

For  this  reason  oleoresins  are  the  preferred spice extract used for flavouring purposes. The oleoresins is produced by extraction of the dry spices with an organic solvent / solvent mixture. Whilst the choice of organic solvent is wide, it is usually restricted to the proven solvents such as ethylene dichloride, acetone, hexane, or alcohol. Special attention is always paid to the final stage of preparation, to strip off residual solvent to ensure that any residue in the oleoresin is minimal (always less than 30 ppm).

The choice of solvent is very important as it governs the ratio of the spice constituents that are extracted. From Table 3 each spice can be seen to yield a range of oleoresins specified by their ratio of constituents. In the case of turmeric, a highly coloured oleoresin with little characteristic odour of the spice in solid form can be obtained. Alternatively a very low-coloured product having the highly aromatic smell of the ground Turmeric in a liquid state may also be produced. Similarly different products can be obtained by selection of solvents for chilli and black pepper. Decolourised oleoresins are also available.

Thus tailored oleoresins can be made to meet most users requirements.The oleoresins containing all the flavour elements of the spice, in highly concentrated form provide a very economic method of flavouring products.

Superchitical fluid extraction technology


SCFE system is the modern technology of making oils and oleoresins through Carbon- dioxide processing. This system provides a modern cost effective technology for value addition in the processing of various agricultural commodities like spices.


SCFE is a tow-step process which uses Carbon- dioxide as the solvent above its critical pressure and temperature for extraction of various natural materials. This technology is preferred worldwide for commercial-scale extraction because it offers:

Superior Product

  • Delicacy and freshness close to natural.

  • High potency of active components.

  • Excellent blending characteristics.

  • Longer shelf life.

  • Free of biological contaminants Superior Technology

  • Simultaneous Fractionation of extract.

  • Pollution free process.

  • Provides solution to international concerns.

  • No residual solvent

  • No residual pesticide.


Essential Oil content (%)1

Other key constituents1

Suggested dispersion Rate (%)


5 – 26 (20 – 26)

Piperine 30 – 55% 

(40 – 42%)2



12 – 35 (28)

Pungency Factor


Capsicum (chilli)

Not applicable

Capsaicin 2 – 20% 

(3 – 5%) 3

2 – 10


Not applicable

Curcumin 35 – 98% 4



to 60 (–)



Celery seed

to 14 (7)




– (50)




– (40)




Not applicable




– (65)



Notes : 

(1)  Percentage in brackets represents normal range. (2) Also available decolourised.

(3)  Colour range 1200 – 10,000 colour units.               (4) Colour range 5000–15,000 colour units.


Spice oils and oleoresins can be used to advantage wherever spices are used, except in those applications where the appearance or filler aspect of the spice is of importance. The above details provides guide levels of replacement for spices, and suggested dispersion rate on to food carriers. In addition to the benefit of standardisation, consistency, and hygiene afforded by spice oils and oleoresins, there is a big potential in their use of new product development. New flavours and fragrances are constantly being sought to entice the consumer. This applies equally to food products, medications, as well as other nonfood products. It also illustrates the range of applications for spice oils and oleoresins, specifying the areas, and the particular spice that is known to have a contribution potential.


Processed Meats

The use of spices, particularly pepper, in the manufacture of meat products, is traditional to impart flavour and keeping quality to the products. Typical seasoning mix for fresh sausages, for example, consists of pepper, capsicum, ginger, nutmeg, plus herbs. For dry sausages and pickled meats cardamom and coriander are also used.The move to use oleoresins has been accelerated by the increasing size of the manufacturing plants, where the use of spice extracts benefits production quality, as well as easy handling and cost savings.The above spices are used in the dispersed form of their oleoresin, with cardamom and coriander in the form of their oils.

Fish and vegetables

Seasoning mixes for both fish and vegetables, and particularly pickled or brined products such as herrings, contain a wide range of spices and herbs. The use of oleoresins, particularly dispersed oleoresins on a soluble base, will provide a means of easier preparation, reduced handling and costs.

Soups, Sauces, chutenys, and dressings

The increasing demand for convenience products available in the form of a dry mix for ready reconstitution, has caused a rapid move from conventional seasoning towards dispersed or encapsulated oleoresins and oils.Oleoresins of celery, pepper, capsicum, are used in conjunction with the oils of onion and garlic. Coriander and ginger extracts are used in barbeque sauces. The use of the lesser – known but highly useful spices such as fenugreek broaden the new product opportunities.

Cheeses and dairy products

The use of spices in cheeses is established in Germany, including "Quark". Spice extracts are unlikely to be uses in these products as the spices provide the flavouring plus visual impact.However, spice oils and oleoresins will have significance in processed cheeses and savoury spreads.

Baked goods

The use of cardamom in baked goods in Scandinavia and Germany is traditional. The baking industry generally uses ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The move from the spice to their oleoresin has been effectively taking place for many years for ease of handling and simplicity in manufacture. The use of spice extracts in cake fillings, biscuits, and snack products is also increasing steadily.


The use of spices and spices extracts in the confectionery area is rather rare, but demonstration of the use of such material as cardamom oil and other extracts in toffees, chocolates, and others, has shown that they provide a very novel and pleasing confectionery ingredient new to the market.


The flavouring is an essential component of the appeal of snack products, and unusual because the flavour is often applied on the surface, either by spray coating or dusting. For this purpose the seasoning mix has to be capable of being applied in spray form, or powder. Oleoresins of pepper, chilli, and celery, are widely used. Turmeric and chilli extracts are used to provide colour.


Spice oils are used for the preparation of soft beverages, as for example ginger oil in the preparation of ginger beer, etc. Some of the less well-known spice extracts can be used to produce very pleasing soft drink products as yet not widely known outside of local production in countries where they originate.


The use of spice oils in the preparation of creams, soaps, shampoos, lacquers, lipsticks, etc., is well known. However, some of the materials available from India are as yet not widely used, not recognised as providing means for a new dimension to cosmetic products.

The growing preference for herbal, spicy, and spicy coniferous products like shampoos and hair tonics are noted, yet such extracts as those of cardamom and fenugreek are little heard of. The use of lesser known spice extracts can provide new product appeal.


Perfumery uses a wide range of essential oils and oleoresins from sources far and wide, and yet some of the lesser – known oils and oleoresins are hardly used at all. Examination of the wide range of those available from India could well provide a new basis of products of appeal.

Hygiene products

Products like toothpastes, mouthwashes etc., depend on essential oils to provide their pleasing flavour, making them not only acceptable, but pleasant to use.

In cleansing materials, detergents etc., spice oils provide the aromatic appeal in otherwise uninteresting and sometimes offensive notes associated with some of the base products.


The use of aerosols worldwide is increasing at a significant rate in products such as air freshners, polishes, lacquers and many cleansing agents, as well as waxes etc., All of these are perfumed with essential oils to provide their pleasant and fresh aroma.

The range of spice oils from India can make their contribution to new product development.


Both oils and oleoresins are widely used in pharmaceutical products, to provide either pleasant taste or aroma to render the medicinal products, which would otherwise be difficult to accept, pleasing and easy to use. These include medications, skin creams, cold remedies, etc.,


In this brochure we have illustrated the potential benefits associated with the use of spice oils and oleoresins, and particularly the wide range available from India, many of which have not received the recognition they deserve. The use of these materials provides new products opportunities, as well as product improvement, and most importantly cost savings.

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