A report released by Nielsen Massey, one of the world's largest manufactures of pure vanilla extracts and flavouring, recently raised the alarm on the state of the global vanilla market.
SEE: Easy vanilla cupcakes
About 75 - 80% of the world's vanilla comes from Madagascar and this allows them to set the global price of vanilla. According to the report, in recent years, as a result of a poor harvest, we've seen poor quality beans, high prices and a limited supply of vanilla beans. 2017 is said to be the same and we're facing a global vanilla shortage. Yikes!
What you should know
The cultivation process of this precious commodity is quite a strenuous one. The different vanilla flowers each only opens for one part of a day once in the season, after which they have to be hand-pollinated within 12 hours. After pollination they are left in the sun to dry. This process can take anything from 3 to 6 months.
The Guardian reported that when prices are high and when there is a risk of thieves stealing the beans, farmers are often tempted to pick them early. Harvesting the crops too early results in a poorer bean quality and less-intense flavour.
The Independent said that vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world (saffron being the most expensive). Have you ever stopped to think what we would do without vanilla? What if vanilla becomes so expensive that we are no longer able to afford it? Food and beverage manufacturers rely heavily on vanilla for various product flavourings and if the price of it continues to increase, you can expect a price hike in drinks, chocolates, ice cream and even perfume.
ALSO READ: How to make vanilla custard slices