Skip to main content

Vanilla Update – February

By February 7, 2017June 10th, 2021Industry News


How deep is your love? The worldwide scarcity of vanilla beans has provided just such a test. Prices continue to soar to new record levels while beans become harder and harder to source.  Manufacturers of vanilla extract are sucking up most of what’s available just to stay in the market, exacerbating the shortage.

We have a few suggestions to offer for this misfortune. Why not try substituting alternative flavors where possible? How about substituting Bourbon whiskey for Bourbon vanilla. Or why not consider dark rum or sassafras, caramel or cardamom to fill the void. Drastic times call for inspired solutions.

Still faithful to the bean? Don’t despair, prices won’t hold forever. New vanilla plantings take time to mature but as discussed in an earlier bulletin, exorbitant pricing usually begets a future collapse in the market as new growers in other growing regions pile in on the frenzy.

If you are a purist and insist on vanilla no matter, you can take advantage of an ironic anomaly. The costlier true Tahitian vanilla beans (from Tahiti) are presently selling at or near the same price as Madagascar Bourbon beans. This is truly unprecedented and with the chaos in Madagascar, the lesser quality PNG and Indonesian beans are being passed off by resellers as Bourbon. This makes real Tahitians beans a still even more attractive alternative.

(Note: Since this was reported in February, there are virtually no true Tahitians left on the market.)