The Vanilla Bean Crisis and ANPC's Commitment to Quality
by Rachel Boutagy
Take one Madagascan vanilla bean crisis, and add that to an already very fragile and volatile global vanilla market, and you will have the highest vanilla bean prices experienced to date. Prices have increased so dramatically over the last 2 years (and we mean upwards of US$650 per kilo), that most food companies are being forced into sourcing cheaper alternatives to protect their bottom line. One of those ways is to use 'natural vanilla flavour' either as a replacement for vanilla bean, or to enhance the flavour of a 'downgraded' vanilla bean supply.
We feel very strongly about not using 'natural flavours' in our blends and urge you to read our blog post which explains our stance on them. Additionally, we have a commitment to the quality of the real foods that we use in our blends, and after trialling cheaper commercial grade vanilla powders, we are unable...or more correctly...unwilling to compromise on the quality.
We care about what you consume. We are uncompromising when it comes to your health. We are unbending when it comes to quality and flavour. We are transparent about our products and apply integrity first in all our actions.
So we here at ANPC have decided to keep using the premium grade vanilla bean powder that you have enjoyed in our Pure Vanilla Bean blend and we will absorb as much of the increased cost as possible, passing only the necessary amount to our customers, until prices eventually come down again.
If you would like to make comment or ask a question on this topic, please direct your email to our team at email@example.com.
If you would like read more about the vanilla bean crisis and factors that have contributed to the the increase in price, please continue reading.
Madagascar, the world’s top producer of vanilla (approximately 80% of the world’s supply) was struck by Cyclone Enawo in May 2017, which devastated the town of Antalaha and surrounding regions leading to the global vanilla market eclipsing the high prices of 2003.
As a result, the 2017 Madagascar crop was predicted to be the worst quality crop delivered to the market in decades. In Madagascar, green vanilla beans near roads or populated areas are being harvested as immature beans to reduce the risk of theft. This situation is estimated to reduce the expected crop size by at least 30% and create a further shortage, decreasing the quality on the global market.
The quick curing of green vanilla in Madagascar and other countries is a practice that has contributed to the current state of the market. 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’. Our supplier, a small grower and producer, who pride themselves on producing quality vanilla products by way of sensible and fair purchasing - have found these times both frustrating and challenging.
The graph below shows the fluctuations in vanilla prices since 1990.