The annual market for vanilla beans worldwide is approximately 2,000 tons, North America is the largest consumer. Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean of off the southeast coast of Africa, is the largest supplier. This article explains why those conditions exist and cites efforts by other suppliers to enter the market.
North American Consumption
North American consumption of vanilla beans is the largest in the world. It accounts for roughly 1,400 tons, or nearly 67%, of the world market. Europe constitutes the next largest market with a total demand of approximately 450 tons. Unlike the American market, consumption of beans in Europe is split between industrial and household users. Japan ranks as the worlds third largest user with annual imports totaling approximately 70 tons annually.
Why is the American market the worlds largest? It cannot be attributed to population. There are currently about 300 million people living in the U.S. and Canada compared to about 500 million living in Europe. In fact, there are several answers to the question, none of them socio-economic.