Cardamom is included in the world spice market. The annual value of the world spice market, as of 2011, is estimated to be about one hundred billion dollars or so. Cardamom is only about 0.5% of that.
Now, when it comes to the value in the import/export sector, cardamom is most definitely one of the most wanted spices in the world, especially green cardamom. This is why it is expensive. It doesn’t help that only a few select countries are actually able to cultivate cardamom due to the climate required to grow this plant.
The demand for cardamom has generally increased from year to year. A 16 ounce bag of whole green cardamom pods will cost you no less than $20. At your local Indian grocery store you will find that, among the other spices, cardamom spice will always seem to be more expensive. As for pods, you may oftentimes be disappointed when you find that at your local Indian grocery store, the pods seem stale and dry. High quality pods will often be priced even higher, depending on where you live.
So, don’t expect anything cheaper than $1,30/oz. Nevertheless, if you want to buy cardamom pods at a cheaper price, you may want to look at the whole sale market of commodities, but again, this is generally an expensive commodity so you’re going to have to look quite a bit in order to find something that is of quality and has a low price tag.
Black cardamom is different. You can easily find 6oz bags for $6 and sometimes you can even find 4oz bags for as low as $2. This is because expensive and complicated machinery is not used to produce most of the world’s black cardamom and thus costs are lower compared to green cardamom.
However, as of 2011, cardamom is getting cheaper and cheaper, which is actually a great concern for farmers in Vietnam and India. There was actually a sharp drop in prices at the peak of the harvesting season in May, so cardamom can sometimes have some strange price fluctuations. It’s up to you to use these price fluctuations to your advantage.
It will probably be somewhat expensive for some time due to production costs. Until some smart people somewhere come up with some brilliant technology to reduce the labor and costs of cultivating this wonderful spicy goodness, we will have to pay the fair price that is asked of us. It’s a very labor intensive task to cultivate cardamom—thus the high prices.
I know that you secretly wish that you had six boxes of cardamom next to you right now, but if you want that to happen, you’re going to have to pay for it. You can always try to ask some relatives for some cardamom on Christmas. Now that’s a smart business decision. 😉
All in all, this is one of the most expensive spices in the world, along with saffron and vanilla, but, hey, so many of the good things in life cost a fair amount of money, so if you really want the spice or the pods, you will find a way to get them. Don’t let a silly price tag stop you from getting what you want.