An overview of the sesame seed market trends across Europe 18-10-2019

This article will give an in-depth review of the sesame seed market in Europe. We will discuss available import digits, the consumption behavior across Europe and the different forms of consumption. The content of this article is based on recent articles and several reliable sources. We will focus on fiscal year 2017, no reliable and or comparison digits are available for the years 2018-2019. The trends and sources although are from 2019.


1.1 Import of sesame seed in the Europe

To get a clear view of the total import of sesame seed in Europe we will start with some digits regarding the total import of oil seeds. The total import of oil seeds in Europe during 2017 is 553 U (U = 1,000 metric tons) (Opendatacbsnl. (2019). A low number if we compare the total import of fruit and vegetables in Europe during 2017, which was 5,115 U.

Of the 553 U of imported oil seeds, 161 U tonnes is accountable for sesame seeds, chart 1.1 will clarify some of these digits (Cbi. (2019). 161 U of sesame seeds is almost 30% of the total imported oil seeds in Europe. The country that imports the most sesame seeds is Germany, with 21% of the total 161 tonnes that was imported during 2017. The Netherlands imports 15% of the total sesame market and holds a third place. The Netherlands is a big importer of sesame seed, mainly because of the strategic positions, like Rotterdam.

(Cbi. (2019). CBI. Retrieved 19 July, 2019, from /market-information/oilseeds/sesame-seeds/Europe).

Around 77% of the imported sesame seed in Europe was sourced directly from production countries, like Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mexico, Paraguay & India.


1.2 Main consumption of sesame seed in Europe

Who and where is the main consumption of sesame seed in Europe? According to Businesswirecom (2019) the sesame market will grow in the coming years with the healthy eating trend. The expectation is that this trend will continue the coming decade.

Not only the organic sesame seed market is growing, the global production of sesame seeds has increased the last decade, along with its demand. More awareness across Europe and other continents push sesame demand even further up. Awareness about the functional applications of sesame seed for the pharmaceutical industry is also increasing. Two global market drivers that will push the sesame market even further up are:

  • Production of hybrid sesame seeds. In India, hybrid sesame seeds are being produced and developed. This will probably drive the demand up even further.
  • Niche segments. A trend of non-traditional foods is fueling the European & Indian market lately. More niche segments are arising in several continents, the Asian market is very popular in Europe for example. One of the main ingredients of Tahini is sesame seed. Tahini is also one of the main ingredients of hummus, which is becoming very popular amongst Europeans (, 2019).

Consumers are becoming more and more aware of organic products, fair trade products and a clean supply chain. The three most important European market trends in the coming years according to Businesswirecom (2019) will be:

  • Soaring demand for organic sesame seeds
  • Growing interest in sesame seeds among retailers
  • Greater demand for sustainable and fair-trade products

Recapitulating these three trends, the most growth will probably come from the food application industry. More retailers are looking for organic, healthy and fair-trade products. Sesame seed has some great application and can be classified as a healthy product from nature.

Businesswirecom (2019) states: “Organic sesame seeds are healthy superfoods with an abundance of nutritional benefits. They are devoid of harmful chemicals, pesticides, fillers, and preservatives. They are a good source of protein and iron. They are also widely used in animal feed products for poultry and livestock. Consumers have started to opt for organic food products over conventional.”


1.3 Forms of consumption of sesame seed in Europe

The consumption of sesame seed in Europe can be divided into three categories. 1. The food application industry 2. The cosmetical industry 3. The pharmaceutical industry.  Although there are more cosmetic products and also pharma products which contain healthy ingredients like sesame seeds, the biggest consumption is (still) from the food application industry.

Sesame seeds can be eaten, toasted, processed into oil, flour or paste. Because there are so many ways to consume sesame seed, the food application still consumes a large part. This means that it is directly related to the end consumer. Whenever there is a bigger demand from the end consumers, production facilities are eager to produce more.

In Europe, sesame seeds are increasingly being used in vegan, vegetarian and cuisine dishes. This is one the biggest and most important trends of the increased sesame consumption in Europe.



Businesswirecom. (2019). Businesswirecom. Retrieved 19 July, 2019, from

Cbi. (2019). CBI. Retrieved 19 July, 2019, from /market-information/oilseeds/sesame-seeds/Europe.

Hlagro. (2019). Medium. Retrieved 22 July, 2019, from

Opendatacbsnl. (2019). Opendatacbsnl. Retrieved 19 July, 2019, from”.