A list of terms frequently used in the seasoning and spice sector.
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Oleoresins are pure extractives of a spice or herb. They are concentrated natural liquid flavourings that contain both volatile and non-volatile flavour components. Oleoresins have a somewhat different flavour profile from essential oils and provide flavour profiles characteristic of the ground spice or herb with a more rapid flavour release. Herbs and spices are used primarily as food ingredients in order to provide flavour, colour and enhanced visual appearance but they are also used in medicine and perfumery. Oleoresins provide flavour profiles of the ground spice or herb with a more rapid flavour release. Oleoresins represent a method of obtaining a spice-like flavour profile in a concentrated, oil-soluble, liquid form. They typically contain five important components: essential oil, non-volatile characterising substances, fats, waxes and pigments.

Herbs and Spices

Culinary herbs and spices are edible parts of the plants which are traditionally added to foodstuffs for their natural flavouring, aromatic and visual properties. For more detail see ESA List of Culinary Herbs and Spices.

Herbs and Spice Blends

These mixtures only contain herbs and spices and, if necessary, permitted anti-caking agents. The terms blend, mix and mixture are interchangeable.


A seasoning is a blend of permitted food ingredients added as necessary to achieve the purpose for which it is designed, that is, to improve the taste, eating quality and/or functionality of a food. It typically contains one or more herbs and/or spices and other flavour-enhancing or flavour-imparting ingredients. The Seasoning category includes seasonings with functional properties, for example, thickening, emulsifying, preserving, tenderising, colouring.


A list of answers to frequently asked questions.
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Who are we?

The mission of The Seasoning and Spice Association is to be the leading voice of the UK Seasoning and Spice industry in the interests of members, food manufacturers and consumers alike.

What is our purpose?

The SSA's principal objective is to promote the interests of its members in all aspects of the importation, processing and distribution of seasonings, herbs, spices and related products.

How are we structured?

The SSA is formed of a Full Membership Committee, a Board, a Technical Committee, Ad Hoc Working Groups and the Secretariat. Meetings are held throughout the year usually at the London offices of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

How to become a member?

To become members of the SSA, interested companies must be members of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Any queries can be sent to the following email:

Are herbs, spices, seasonings and oleoresins the same thing?

The answer is no! For definitions of herbs, spices, seasonings and oleoresins and blends please see the Glossary section further up this page.

When were herbs and spices first used?

1550BC. The Ebers papyrus recorded the use of various herbs and spices in Egypt and extolled their medical benefits. See our History pages for more information.