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The State of Vanilla

Posted: October 18, 2005, from the November 2005 issue of P&F magazine.

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  • From P&F Magazine
  • November 2005 issue, pg 36
  • 4 pages

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Confections, candles, baked goods, fine fragrances, ice cream, lotions, sodas, oral care, snack foods: vanilla is arguably one of the most popular flavor and fragrance materials. In addition to its inherent versatility, vanilla is also one of the industry’s most economically/geopolitically unstable materials. This month, P&F talks with a diverse panel of experts for their take on vanilla’s immediate future, emerging novel applications, new sources and more.

We asked our experts what they saw as the major challenges involving vanilla over the next year. Premier Vanilla Inc.’s Arvind Ranadive said, “The biggest challenge is to increase the growth in pure vanilla consumption. The vanilla industry lost anywhere from 25-40 percent of the pure vanilla market in the last three to four years due to excessively high vanilla bean prices.”

But panelists agreed that getting industrial consumers to exploit the current vanilla supply was just one key solution. Daphna Havkin-Frenkel of Bakto Flavors said the industry must “make sure that the farmers are producing good quality beans (since the farmers cannot sell the beans, many of them are not even picking them and curing them).” Havkin- Frenkel warns that if this advice is not followed, prices will again rise, in tandem with lowered quality. This, she says, could scare industrial consumers away from vanilla for good. Simon Poppelsdorf of Bell Flavors & Fragrances elaborates on this threat: “The biggest challenge…is to survive the roller coaster on bean prices, in addition to winning back customers that went to WONF or artificial replacements for the natural extracts.” Thomas Grys of Borregaard has a somewhat different take: “lower vanilla bean prices…[are] not expected to have any impact on vanillin demand, as vanillin still is a far more cost competitive product.”

This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine, but you can purchase the full-text version.