2016 REFLECTIONS ON Vanilla Beans
The reasons behind the disparity in quality and price of vanilla beans in 2016
2016 was a tough year for vanilla producers, cures, and customers worldwide. Prices were high, quality at times, and with all things considered, was quite low. I guess with this said it is understandable a consumers expectation of what a natural dried and cured vanilla bean should look like at over 200 dollars a pound versus the year 2015 when the average vanilla bean price was 140-150 dollars a pound. We do believe consumers should be able to expect more but this truly is not always the case.
Vanilla, like any other commodity, is a give and a take. A remarkable product that requires not only skill but favorable weather and favorable harvests. 2016 where vanilla on the international market became scarce and supplies grew shorter further pushing the price per pound. Surges in demand from other vanilla consuming regions also helped keep prices high and consumers at bay.
When prices are high, the pressure to harvest smaller or immature green vanilla beans becomes greater. A wise man once told us, “that with every passing day the farmer risks the loss of profit and the loss of a potential market plunge; farmers have no choice but to harvest.” We suppose this adds up and even makes good sense from an economic perspective. Regrettably so, and hopefully past us, we do foresee both quality and price start to level out towards the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018.
Some of our favorite producing regions this past year have been in Tahiti, where the Tahitian vanilla beans are always beautiful, fragrant, and perfect for the ultimate vanilla lover. PNG produced vanilla beans also truly stood out this year great quality and as a great alternative. The Vanilla Planifolia coming out of this region is plump with smoke and earth undertones that make these beans wonderful for chocolate and savory creations.
Regarding Uganda, we could not say more positive things about the potential we see in this region. We love Ugandan vanilla beans and we love our friends and partners working in Uganda. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity this year to sponsor a Christmas party with our friends in Uganda and say thank you from us to all of them. We truly love both the kind hospitality of the people but also the amazing product of vanilla beans they produce. Thank you, Uganda.
Other amazing things we are excited about as we close out 2016 is our developing relationships with our saffron partners in the Middle East and our Cinnamon supplier in Sri Lanka in support of our branded line of spices. We continue to search the globe in a journey toward the highest quality ingredients so that we may share them with all of you; our friends, our customers, our loved ones. We could not be more happy to begin 2017 with all of you. Thank you sincerely from Slofoodgroup for an amazing 2016 and allowing us to serve you.