Vanilla now more expensive than silver

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Aug 29, 2018, 10:34 PM(IST)

Although major leading retailers may not be as affected by the change, small businesses and pop-up shops could have a tough time in the market Photograph:( WION )

The world could be heading towards a shortage of everyone's favourite vanilla flavour this summer.

Vanilla prices are now the highest than ever before at 600 US dollars per kilogram.

This makes the vanilla bean more valuable than silver.

In fact, the cost of vanilla is about 10 times what it used to cost just a few years ago.

Most of the world's vanilla is grown in Madagascar, where the market has been on a bit of a rollercoaster.

The island was hit by cyclone Enawo in last year in March, which destroyed many of the Vanilla orchids which produce the seed pods.

To make things worse the tropical island suffered a major drought just after the storm.

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world after saffron and is a difficult spice to cultivate.

It is extracted from the delicate vanilla orchid flower and can take five years to get from the ground to the table.

Used in chocolate, cakes and drinks, as well as ice cream, vanilla is one of the world’s most popular flavours.

So far, ice cream makers have been absorbing the price. But this year has forced one high-end London gelato chain to pull its vanilla ice cream off the menu, and some bigger companies to raise prices.

Soaring prices will not only hit the ice cream industry but will also affect the companies that use the ingredient in everything from soft drinks, cakes, perfume and cosmetics.

The combination of high prices and poor quality means some manufacturers are now turning to synthetic alternatives.

Synthetic flavouring called vanillin is extracted from wood and sometimes even petroleum. It is anticipated that synthetic flavouring will be more widely used across industries trying to avoid escalating costs.

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