"It's important to invest now and build brand awareness in the early days, before somebody else and establish their brand as the brand of choice," Arnold said.
McCormick announced last month that it was paying $291 million to purchase Kamis SA, a privately held company in Poland that makes spices, seasonings, mustards and other flavors. The company has a 45 percent share of the spice and seasoning market and a 30 percent share of the mustard market there.
McCormick also announced last month that it was acquiring an 85 percent share in Kohinoor Foods Ltd., an Indian company that sells basmati rice and other food products. McCormick will invest $115 million in the company, which has enjoyed double-digit sales growth.
The company formed a joint venture last year with Yildiz Holding to create spices, herbs and condiments in Turkey. It also bought a 26 percent stake last year in Eastern Condiments Private Ltd., which makes food in India and the Middle East.
"Certainly the companies we've seen make successful acquisitions have acquired a family business that has a very good reputation, market share and strong brands in the markets they operate," said Ann Gurkin, an analyst with Davenport & Company.
Analysts said McCormick can also use its expertise to improve the efficiency of the plants it buys.
Wilson said McCormick is planning more overseas expansion, in India and elsewhere. The long-term strategy is for $100 million in acquisitions per year.
"We don't have a specific goal to be in every country because some markets aren't necessarily right for us," Wilson said. "But we will look at markets where we see there is opportunity."