Why is Saffron Such an Expensive Spice?

March 25, 2020

Here at Royal Nawaab, we use a wide range of high-quality spices in our dishes in order to bring the authentic flavour of India and Pakistan to the people of the UK. With this said, many of these traditional spices are available in abundance which means that they are often incredibly affordable, however there are certain spices like vanilla and saffron that are known for their steep up-front cost. Read on as we go over everything there is to know about saffron and its high price tag…

What is saffron?

Derived from the flower of the Crocus sativus, saffron is a spice and colouring agent that is typically implemented in a wide range of authentic dishes like paella and bouillabaisse. In fact, it is thought to have originated from Iran, Greece and Mesopotamia but is now commonly grown in a wide range of locations including Italy, France, Spain, Morocco and even parts of China. According to many reports, saffron is thought to sell for around $5000 per pound!


Only a small amount of the flower that saffron comes from is utilised in order to make the spice itself which means that the harvesting process relies on a lot of labour. As a result, the price of saffron is heavily dictated on the number of people that are required in order to harvest, separate and dry the spice so that it can be sold across the world.

Low Yield

Alongside the harvesting process, it is important to note that just three threads of stigma, the female part of the Crocus sativus flower where saffron comes from, is yielded from each flower. As a result, an average of 4lbs of the spice is harvested per acre of land which is incredibly low in comparison to other spices like turmeric where 8-10 tons per acre is commonplace.

Although saffron is not traditionally used in Indian cooking, it can be added to dishes in order to create a subtle flavour and exciting aroma. After all, it is known for its distinctive flavour which is why the spice is often seen as an essential implementation in authentic dishes, regardless of whether they are being cooked by a professional or amateur chef. To find out more information about saffron, get in contact with the best restaurant in Manchester and speak to a member of the Royal Nawaab team today!