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Spicy Organic LLC: Modern Day Spice Merchants




When sprinkling red pepper on a pizza or indulging in a cinnamon roll, most people probably don’t give a second thought to the spices on their food and where they originated. Often taken for granted in modern times, spices were extremely difficult to obtain at one time, and the measures taken to secure them played a profound role in shaping human history. Some spices were once more valuable than gold and gems. Pepper was even used to pay Roman soldiers or rent in ancient times. Although spices are extremely affordable and accessible today, the undertakings that made this possible shaped economies and cultures, even leading to the discovery of new continents.

In Ancient times, Arabian spice merchants would tell stories of the mythical origins of the cinnamon and cassia they sold to maintain an aura of mystery surrounding the origins of their products and keep their foothold on the market. They dominated the market for 5000 years until the Middle Ages. In modern times, however, the spice trade looks different. One family whose story began in India and has crossed the globe, are extremely transparent about the origins of their products, making it a point for them to be traced back to the source.

What began as a small spice shop opened by Sunil Kumar and his family in 1980 in the Village of Lisora in Uttar Pradesh, India has since become a transnational company and the largest supplier of wholesale and bulk organic spices in North America. Just like the explorers and spice merchants of the times gone by, the Kumars help distribute spices across land and water, always maintaining their mission to provide organic and sustainable products. They have relationships with over 10,000 organic farmers and growers, and their legacy spans over 40 years.

How the Spice Trade Shaped History

Spices were the first globally traded product. Archaeologists believe humans have been using spices to season their food since 50,000 B.C. Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, turmeric and cassia were some of the first to be traded across different lands. Records show cinnamon and cassia arrived to the Middle East more than 4000 years ago. Ancient Arab traders would tell stories of cassia growing in shallow lakes and guarded by winged animals.

Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) and the Spice Islands (modern-day Indonesian Moluccas) served as important trading points at one time. Later on, Alexandria, Egypt became the world’s largest center of trade when it fell under Roman rule. Indian spices traded in Alexandria reached other territories of the Greek and Roman empires. For 300 years after Ptolemy XI gave Alexandria to the Romans in 80 BCE, trade between India and the Romans flourished.

In the 10th century, the trade rivalry between Venice and Genoa led to the Naval War of Chioggia in 1378. Venice emerged as the victor, which allowed them to dominate trade in the Levant for the next 100 years.

Age of Exploration

As shipbuilding technology evolved, the British, Spanish, and Portuguese sailed in search of the fabled spice lands, with the goal of finding alternative trade routes and eliminating the middleman. Christopher Columbus, sailing for King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of Spain, famously failed to reach the Spice Islands but discovered the Americas instead. Portuguese explorers successfully found a route to Asia and reached India in 1498. For the next century, they dominated the market.

Fleets from Holland set sail for the Spice Islands in the late 1500s, which led to the establishment of the Dutch East India company in 1602. Other European countries soon followed and established their own East India Companies. Although Portugal dominated the spice trade at one point, it was surpassed by the British and Dutch. The pursuit of spices fueled globalization, technology, and established empires. There was a dark side to their success, however. During this period, European countries established their colonial presence in Asia and other parts of the world at the expense of indigenous peoples, leaving a legacy marked by violence and oppression.

Evolution of Tastes in the Western World

Some may wonder why spices were in such high demand in Europe. Modern European cuisine is not known for incorporating many different spices. Other cuisines, such as Chinese or Indian, are known to be more layered and complex, with contrasting flavors, whereas western European dishes combine similar flavors. One example is the use of cinnamon; its sweet aroma is typically used to enhance sweet dishes in the west, whereas in India and the Middle East it is common to use in savory dishes. Western food is known for being less seasoned than other cuisines. However, this was not always the case.

At one time, Europeans incorporated more spices in their dishes. A beef pie recipe from 15th-century Germany, for example, includes meat, butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves.

A 16th-century English recipe for custard-  a savory quiche with meat, includes veal, red wine, parsley, sage, hyssop, savory, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, mace, saffron, salt, dates, prunes, and ginger.

So what changed? How did European access to spices change their palate? While affording spices was a status symbol at one time, as spices became increasingly common, it became more elegant to do the opposite of what the masses were doing. So instead of masking food in spices, it became popular for the upper classes to bring out the natural flavors of foods by using minimal seasonings. This is why European food tends to uses fewer spices, preferring herbs, salt, and pepper instead to enhance the natural flavors. However, in the last few decades, the popularity of spices have made a revival as a result of globalization and immigration. One prime example is chicken tikka masala, which is considered to be the national dish of England and a symbol of its multiculturalism.

The Kumar Family’s 40-year legacy

As the largest wholesale and bulk distributor of organic spices and herbs in North America, the Kumar family delivers the tastes of India to North America. They allow Indians abroad to enjoy the tastes of home and non-Indians alike to discover the flavors of India without compromising on quality or price. They help people across the globe continue their family culinary traditions by bringing organic, high-quality spices, making them affordable and accessible.

Since 1980, Sunil Kumar and his family continue their spice trade across land and sea and show us what the modern-day spice trade looks like. So although we may take the accessibility of spices brought to us by companies like Spicy Organic for granted, they helped shape much of history, making huge impacts on economies, cultures, and history. Wars were fought, empires gained and lost power, technology improved, and society became more interconnected.

The idea of Bigtime Daily landed this engineer cum journalist from a multi-national company to the digital avenue. Matthew brought life to this idea and rendered all that was necessary to create an interactive and attractive platform for the readers. Apart from managing the platform, he also contributes his expertise in business niche.

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Business Strategies of Michael Gastauer




Michael Gastauer, a German billionaire and entrepreneur, has led Black Banx to remarkable heights with his innovative strategies in the digital banking sector. As the founder and CEO, his vision has transformed Black Banx into a significant player in the global financial industry, serving millions and revolutionizing banking practices. 

Gastauer’s approach has been distinctly customer-centric, focusing on solving real-world problems through accessible financial services. This strategy has not only captured a vast market share but also established Black Banx as a model of innovative fintech success.

Innovate Early and Often, Invest Strategically

Gastauer’s journey began with a robust foundation in the fintech sector, where he initially created and later sold a payment services company for US$480 million. 

This significant capital boost allowed him to invest in his next venture: Black Banx. Launched in 2014, Black Banx differentiated itself by offering real-time account opening and cross-border payment solutions to a global audience, addressing major inefficiencies in traditional banking. 

Gastauer’s foresight in identifying and investing in these key areas early on allowed Black Banx to scale quickly and efficiently. His strategy was clear: leverage high initial investment to accelerate growth and secure a substantial market presence before competitors could catch up.

Within a year of its inception, Black Banx expanded rapidly, reaching over 1 million customers. This was just the beginning, as the platform soon integrated cryptocurrency options, enhancing its appeal and utility for a broader client base. By the end of 2018, Black Banx was valued at US$9.8 billion, a testament to its rapid growth and the successful implementation of its business model. 

Gastauer’s bold move to integrate cryptocurrencies early in the game positioned Black Banx as a pioneering force in fintech, well ahead of traditional banks.

Pinpoint Problems and/or Challenges

One of the core components of Gastauer’s strategy was to tackle financial exclusion head-on. Black Banx made significant strides in offering banking solutions to the unbanked and underbanked, particularly in regions with limited access to traditional banking services. 

By leveraging technology and strategic partnerships with mobile network operators, Black Banx has been able to extend its reach and offer innovative banking solutions to millions worldwide. This strategic alignment with mobile operators has been crucial, as it taps into an existing infrastructure to reach remote areas, significantly lowering the cost of expansion.

The platform’s ability to facilitate quick, cost-effective international money transfers has been a game-changer, particularly in markets like the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. This not only supports individuals and businesses in these regions but also contributes to the overall growth and stability of the global economy. 

Gastauer’s focus on simplifying and reducing the cost of these transactions demonstrates a deep understanding of the core needs of his customers, thereby enhancing customer loyalty and trust in the brand.

Take a Tech-Driven Approach

Under Gastauer’s leadership, Black Banx has remained at the forefront of technological integration within the banking sector. The adoption of blockchain, AI, and data analytics has enabled the platform to offer personalized financial services, enhancing customer experience and satisfaction. 

This technology-driven approach ensures that Black Banx stays ahead of industry trends and continues to offer relevant and secure banking options. Gastauer’s commitment to integrating advanced technology not only streamlines operations but also provides a scalable model that supports continuous growth and adaptation in a rapidly evolving market.

Leave No Market Unturned

Gastauer’s vision for Black Banx was never limited to a single region. By 2023, the company had expanded its services to include 28 FIAT and two cryptocurrencies, with a robust presence in over 180 countries. This global approach has not only diversified the company’s customer base but also minimized regional economic risks, allowing Black Banx to thrive in a competitive and fast-changing financial landscape. 

The strategic decision to operate across diverse markets also mitigates the risk of localized economic downturns affecting the overall health of the company.

Set Milestones

The year 2023 was a landmark year for Black Banx, as it reached 39 million customers and reported revenues of US$2.3 billion. The company’s ability to maintain a high rate of customer acquisition and satisfaction speaks volumes about its effective strategies and customer-focused approach. 

The first quarter of 2024 continued this trend, with Black Banx announcing a pre-tax profit of US$639 million and revenues of US$2.1 billion, driven by strategic implementations like fixed monthly account maintenance fees. Gastauer’s strategy to introduce fixed fees was a calculated risk that paid off, providing stable revenue streams and further solidifying Black Banx’s financial foundation.

Michael Gastauer’s strategic foresight and relentless innovation have propelled Black Banx to new heights, making it a leader in the digital banking sector. His commitment to financial inclusion, coupled with an aggressive expansion strategy and technological integration, has not only shaped the future of Black Banx but has also set a new standard in the industry. 

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