When we pay a high price for a bit of saffron, we expect to have the best saffron in the world, or may we are professional cooks and probably like to have the best raw material, and this is our natural right. If we want to have a correct answer to this question, we should consider a sample of views that includes all the people involved in the field of saffron.
We should have farmers, traders, and consumers’ views about the world’s best saffron, and this method may give us a good perspective. Let’s start with saffron farmers.
There are saffron farmers worldwide, but the best of them are in some limited countries. With more than 90% of world saffron production, Iran saffron farmers are the pioneers of this industry, and when we spoke with some of these farmers, there was a heavy competition between them to develop their products.
Iranian farmers compete to produce saffron that has some unique features. One of their targets is producing organic saffron with the highest crocin rate. One of them has 30 hectares of saffron farms said to me; 10 years ago, I made saffron with under 200 crocin rate, and now my saffron crocin is about 280.
Most Iranian farmers want to produce the best saffron and export it to the best markets. The best markets need the best type of products, so these farmers try to produce saffron that is market fit and increase their product quality uninterrupted.
We have Indian saffron farmers in the next place. India is the land of spices, and they are one of the biggest saffron producers in the world. All Indian farmers want to sell their products out of their country and try to plant saffron better than Iranian farmers.
But they do not have the extraordinary facilities and conditions of Iran to grow saffron, and probably they can’t develop their product as the same Iranian saffron. Indian saffron farms are exemplary and may produce good saffron, but they probably can’t do this on a big scale and can’t supply good saffron to the market.
Afghanistan is the next big saffron producer in the world. Afghan saffron farmers produce about 10tons of saffron and mainly export them to other markets such as the USA. They have enough skills and good land for growing saffron, but their country is under pressure, and agricultural businesses can’t grow and develop.
Iranian and Afghan farmers have good communication and information exchange in some fields, but this is not enough to produce good products. Afghanistan needs a little security and peace to produce good saffron. Afghan saffron is usually sold based on social marketing based on helping poor farmers, and other techniques like this.
Some other saffron producer countries, such as China, Spain, Greece, and Arabic countries, can only produce saffron to the extent of domestic consumption and haven’t a severe role in the global saffron markets.
Also, some countries like the USA have advanced agricultural systems and motivated farmers. They are in the trial and error phase of saffron planting, and we will probably see the production of quality American saffron in this country soon.
The View of Traders and Merchants
In the first step, we should find who are the saffron traders and what they want for their business. Some of the big saffron traders are around Iran, like Qatar and the UAE, and some are in Europe, like Spain. These traders are the owner of big spice brands and have different work values from farmers.
According to saffron traders, the best saffron in the world is the saffron that maintains its high quality continuously and can help advance brand goals and customer satisfaction. These trades usually work with Iran saffron farms, and they seem to have achieved good compatibility with each other.
Also, some other trader wants to have saffron with the lowest price and average quality. Iranian saffron has low production costs for farmers and can sell at a competitive price.
The retail market condition is very different from the other part of the saffron industry. In this section, people have lots of choices and are under the exposure of expanding advertising. There are many Indian marketers in digital markets that promote their products.
These marketers say their products are the best in the saffron market, and in some cases, they are right. Some consumers verify their claim and like this type of saffron, but probably we can’t scale this to the whole market.
Also, there is a type of saffron in the market that is famous as Spain saffron, and as we said, this saffron is supplied from Iran saffron farms. This type of saffron has high popularity in the European market, and there are great brands of Spain saffron in the market.
The best saffron in the world may have a different concept for us. Based on statists, more than 90% market uses Persian saffron in various shapes and brands and is satisfied with this choice. It is not just related to saffron taste, this goes back to brands and names and our sense when we face them.
So try to find your popularity saffron, and do not marginalize your mind.