In the days of the Crusades, spices were luxury products that delighted the riches of the nobility. When the ruler of one nation wanted to pay homage to another, he sent her numerous spices. The vassals went out in a procession carrying in their little ebony boxes the fabulous and rare "seeds" from the East.
In the Middle Ages, black pepper had a lot of value. It served as a prize to winners of duels and as a "currency" for tax payments and fees for judges. No doubt it was a lucrative trade, especially for those who were willing to make the Marco Polo Spice Route. The grocers occupied a privileged class within the market at this time.
The product was so consumed that the demand was often greater than the supply for that reason, the prices were high and only those who had high purchasing power were that they were able to buy them. In addition to serving as a gift and prize, spices were consumed by perfumers and alchemists. In all the famous potions, "love filters" and remedies for spices had their place of prominence.