The top 21 countries in exports of sauces, condiments and seasonings represent 82.2% of the total globally exported value of $14.9bn in 2020. The U.S. has recently been the top exporter of sauces worldwide, with a share of 11.4% of total exported sauces and condiments in 2020. China followed with 10.6%, then Italy with 8.5%, the Netherlands with 7.1%, Germany with 6.5%, Thailand with 5.6%, Belgium with 3.4%, the United Kingdom with 3.1%, Japan with 3%, Poland with 2.9%, Mexico with 2.8%, Spain and Canada with 2.6% each, South Korea and France with 2.2%, Indonesia with 1.5%, Austria with 1.4%, Hong Kong with 1.3%, Malaysia with 1.2%, and Sweden and Russia with 1.1%. After the top 21 exporting countries, 41 countries have shares that range between 0.1% and 0.9%. Lebanon has a share of 0.14%, making it the 58th largest exporter of sauces, condiments and seasonings in 2020. The 60 largest exporters of these products represented a share of 98.4% of total exported products in 2020.
It is worth mentioning that countries of the Mediterranean Basin exported around 15.3% of the globally exported value in 2020. Lebanon was the eighth largest exporter of such products among Mediterranean countries in the same year.
In 2020, the total value of sauces and dips exports from Lebanon stood at $20.2 million, a 56% drop compared to 2014 levels — the highest export value recorded at $46m. The quantity of exported sauces and condiments was at 15 million tons in 2014 and peaked at 17.7 million tons in 2017 before declining to 7.8 million tons in 2019, as per the Lebanese Customs.
Lebanon’s share in the imports of most countries is low, which leaves room for future market share expansion. Among the countries that imported more than $0.5m of Lebanese sauces, Lebanon’s share in the countries’ imports of sauces are relatively elevated in Qatar at 2.9%, in Bahrain at 2.7%, in the UAE at 1.4% and in Kuwait at 1.1%. Among countries that imported more than $200,000 of Lebanese sauces, the share of imports of sauces from Lebanon are relatively elevated in Côte d'Ivoire at 5.3%, in Venezuela at 4.5% and in Senegal at 3.1%. Still, these shares remain low in terms of market concentration compared to other products such as pickles.
In terms of duties, Lebanon benefits from several trade agreements that raise the competitiveness of Lebanese Sauces internationally:
- Lebanon benefits from the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), which allows exports from Lebanon that receive a certificate of origin to enter 17 other Arab countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
- The EFTA-Lebanon Free Trade Agreement allows Lebanese agri-food products, including sauces, to enter the European market without paying duties, on the condition of presenting a certificate of origin.
- Lebanese sauces are also eligible for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) when entering the U.S.; however, the GSP is currently on hold.
These free-trade agreements and reduced custom duties provide Lebanon with a competitive advantage in the main markets for Lebanese sauces, condiments and seasonings. The other markets include Australia, with an applied tariff of 0% on Lebanese sauces and preparations products in 2022. In parallel, tariffs in Canada on Lebanese sauces and preparations reached 9.5% for soya sauce, 12.5% for tomato ketchup, 3% for mustard flour and meal, 9.5% on prepared mustard, 11% on mayonnaise and salad dressing, 8% on mixed condiments and seasonings (excl. soya sauce, tomato ketchup and other tomato sauces, mustard, and mustard flour and meal) and 9.5% on other sauces, condiments and seasonings.