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Why Vanilla Is So Expensive | So Expensive


Narrator: You might think
of vanilla as basic. The word is even used to mean
boring, average, or basic. Student: Why do we have to
go all vanilla on this song? See what we need is my chocolate thunder. Narrator: But vanilla may not always be so run of the mill. Vanilla prices have climbed so high it’s worth more by weight than silver, and that high price tag could be bad news for lovers of ice cream,
yogurt, chocolate, and even perfumes. One reason vanilla has
gotten so expensive is, it’s hard to grow. Vanilla vines take two to
four years to fully mature, and their flowers only bloom
for one day of the year. In order for the plants to produce beans, they have to be pollinated that day. In most places where vanilla is grown, it isn’t a native plant, and there aren’t bugs or birds capable of pollinating the flowers. Vanilla is native to Mexico, but deforestation there
has greatly reduced its natural habitat. In Madagascar, where over
80% of vanilla is produced, the flowers have to be pollinated by hand. The pods need several months
to cure after harvesting. The whole process is
time-consuming and labor-intensive. But the record high price of vanilla also has to do with changes
in the vanilla market. In the 1980s, cheaper artificial vanilla overtook the market. Vanilla farmers cut back production because they weren’t making enough money. But around 2011, demand for
real vanilla rose again. Big companies were joining
the all-natural trend, pledging to eliminate
artificial flavorings from their products, but it’s taken a while
for the vanilla farmers to get back in the game and they don’t all want to. Growing vanilla is a stressful
and volatile business because there is such high demand, vanilla beans are a target for theft. After working hard to
cultivate their crops some farmers have their beans stolen. As the stolen beans move
up the supply chain, they get mixed in with
legally purchased beans making it difficult for buyers to know which are which. To prevent theft, farmers pick the beans before they’re ripe and unripe beans means
lower quality vanilla. Farmers also try to prevent theft by branding their vanilla crops
with a metal pronged brand. That way buyers can identify what farm the vanilla came from. Farmers also run the risk of
having their crops destroyed by extreme weather events. Cyclones are common in Madagascar and climate change is
increasing the frequency and intensity of those storms. If a cyclone were to wipe
out vanilla crops next year, it would take until at
least 2022 for new plants to start producing beans, and farmers might not
want to take that risk. So the supply could continue
to drop even further. The once basic, boring vanilla may wind up becoming a
rare sought-after delicacy.

100 Comments

  1. Klafrenikkss Author

    This video seems to ignore an important information, most of the vanilla we consume is synthetic vanilla, if your vanilla ice cream is cheap, it is because it is not real. Real vanilla is used by the finest restaurants, not by your regular mcdonalds

    Reply
  2. _Paws_ Author

    Since they sort of covered vanilla, the orchid, I wish they would do a video on orchids in general and why they are expensive. Another could also focus on which orchid is more expensive.

    Reply
  3. 。Gloss Cacti 。 Author

    Wikipedia :

    Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia). The word vanilla, derived from vainilla, the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning a sheath or a pod), is translated simply as "little pod".
    Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlīlxochitl by the Aztecs. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s.

    Pollination is required to get the vanilla fruit from which the flavoring is derived. In 1837, Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and pioneered a method of artificially pollinating the plant.The method proved financially unworkable and was not deployed commercially.
    In 1841, Edmond Albius, a slave who lived on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, discovered at the age of 12 that the plant could be hand-pollinated. Hand-pollination allowed global cultivation of the plant.

    Three major species of vanilla currently are grown globally, all of which derive from a species originally found in Mesoamerica, including parts of modern-day Mexico. They are V. planifolia (syn. V. fragrans), grown on Madagascar, Réunion, and other tropical areas along the Indian Ocean; V. tahitensis, grown in the South Pacific; and V. pompona, found in the West Indies, Central America, and South America.The majority of the world's vanilla is the V. planifolia species, more commonly known as Bourbon vanilla (after the former name of Réunion, Île Bourbon) or Madagascar vanilla , which is produced in Madagascar and neighboring islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia. Combined, Madagascar and Indonesia produce two-thirds of the world's supply of vanilla.

    Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavor. As a result, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture, and aromatherapy.

    Hope you have a nice day!

    Reply
  4. min yoongi Author

    Jokes on you. Vanilla is trash to the people here. But the perfumes are like dIamONdS(im in kurdistan aka shitty ass place i didnt ask to live in uwuwuwu)

    Reply
  5. Fern Slays Author

    Just finished reading the ingredients on my vanilla ice cream…Results: TERRIBLE!….😐😐😐I mean…What was I expecting? Luxury vanilla ice cream from target? 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Reply

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