Vanilla producers fight against market volatility

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 19th July 2017

New Zealand vanilla producer, Heilala, has turned to selling extract mixed with flavouring as global vanilla prices continue to rise.

For the second year running, international prices for vanilla has skyrocketed as demand outstrips supply.

The African nation of Madagascar, responsible for most of the world’s vanilla supply, also experienced a damaging cyclone in April 2017, affecting global pricing further.

Spice traders predict the current market turmoil will continue into 2018.

Although Heilala gets most of its vanilla from the island of Tonga, Chief Executive Officer of Heilala, Jennifer Boggiss, said Heilala has turned now offering vanilla extract mixed with flavouring so consumers have more reasonably priced options.

“We have recognised that we will continually be faced with external forces which are out of our control,” Boggiss said.

“The Naturals range will allow customers to continue using a high-quality vanilla throughout this crisis and into the future,” she said.

Heilala’s Natural’s range is a combination of vanilla extract and natural plant-based vanilla flavour.  The range is available now for food service and will hit retail shops in September 2017.

Vanilla harvesting methods “unsustainable”

 Boggiss said unsustainable harvesting methods in Madagascar, and elsewhere, is decreasing vanilla bean quality and adding to supply problems.

According to Boggiss, vanilla beans are sometimes picked too early as a theft prevention method.

“We believe the quick curing of green vanilla is a practice that has contributed to the current state of the market, Boggis said.

“It has an extremely negative social impact on the vanilla trade as ethical and sustainable procurement practices have been abandoned in favour of any vanilla at any price,” she said.

Heilala is not the only company addressing skyrocketing vanilla pricing, with stevia producer, PureCircle, this week announcing a vanilla-stevia blend partially aimed at addressing the high prices.


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