My belief is that these abnormally high retail vanilla prices could be resulting from Vanilla Importers trying to recover their money from the beans they bought very expensively last year.
Take an example of an importer who bought vanilla beans last year from Madagascar at USD600 per Kg (pricing at source) , you then add travel expenses to verify the consignment and quality of the beans and also shipping costs along with USA local import taxes. By this time the 1kg of Vanilla beans bought at USD600 is now USD700. The importer then has to incur storage and marketing costs which can add another say USD5 to the initial cost of the beans. The other worse part is that Vanilla Beans keep loosing weight during storage, about 5% of the weight. You then add the margin and now here you're with almost half a Kg selling at so much.
In another Vanilla article by Gordon Severson published on kare11.com July 14 2018, a shop owner in Minneapolis USA shares her experience on how Vanilla prices have affected her ice cream business this summer.
“I have not ever seen vanilla prices in my 15 years here to be this high,” Pumphouse Creamery owner Barb Zapzalka says.
The shop on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis serves a Madagascar Vanilla.
It’s named after the country that produces the most, and some say the best, vanilla beans.
“It’s just a superior vanilla,” Zapzalka says.
Not only is vanilla an ice cream flavor on its own, it’s also used as a base in several other flavors in the shop’s freezer, and is also used in nearly every other item on the menu.
“We use it in our root beer float, ice cream sandwiches, and almost all of our sundaes,” Zapzalka says.
A gallon of real-vanilla extract used to cost the shop around $75 a gallon.
Zapzalka says it’s now costing her about $420 for the same product.
“The prices are just astronomical,” Zapzalka says.