Saffron is one of the world’s most expensive spices. In part this is because the crocus that makes saffron makes very little of it and in part due to a very labour intensive harvesting process.

Solving commercial supply chain problems

Whilst the saffron market is poorly documented, Evolva estimates some 300 tonnes of saffron are produced each year, with around 95% of the world’s supply coming from Iran. Both the level of production and the pricing varies significantly from year to year. Much of the trade in saffron occurs in informal markets (most notably in the Middle East), and there can be significant adulteration of the product as it flows through the supply chain.

Expanding the use of saffron

Evolva is able to make all of the key saffron ingredients by yeast fermentation. By making saffron in this way, Evolva can both significantly lower the cost of saffron and offer a robust and stable supply chain that is free of geopolitical and adulteration issues. We believe this may significantly expand use of saffron. In particular:

  • by providing more affordable saffron to mid-market consumers in, for example, India and other Asian countries, traditional use of saffron can be significantly increased.
  • by providing a stable, trustworthy supply chain together with better economics, it becomes viable to use saffron in mass-market consumer goods (such as skin creams, teas, air fresheners, baked and savoury goods)
  • by providing individual saffron ingredients in a variety of forms, it becomes possible to use saffron in a wider variety of products, and allows customisation of products to particular demographics. This should also make the use of saffron for applications such as eye health to be more readily explored.


Taking saffron to the next level

As with all Evolva’s products, it is hard to estimate the market potential of Evolva’s saffron. However, based on various third-party data, its own market research and internal analysis, Evolva estimates that the total addressable market for its saffron product is around USD 400 million. This assumes that the primary impact of Evolva’s saffron will be to expand the use of saffron, rather than cannibalisation of existing saffron sales.

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