Vanilla advice as prices soar

Ingredients distributor Cornelius Group is urging its customers to not abandon the use of vanilla in light of price increases and to instead just use less of the popular flavour.

Vanilla bean pricing has increased by as much as ten times compared to just five years ago but Rachel Fordham, dairy, desserts and beverages sales manager at Cornelius, said that a good flowering season this year should see prices level towards the end of the year and begin to decrease through 2017.

“There are a number of things that food manufacturers are being tempted to do because of the high cost,” explains Fordham. “One is to drop vanilla from their ingredients list altogether, another is to start using synthetic vanilla as opposed to natural, and the third is to stockpile for fear that prices will continue to rise.”

She adds, “All indications point to a good crop and improved harvest this year so by the end of 2016 prices should begin to fall as a result.

In the meantime, we are urging food manufacturers to simply use less vanilla rather than cutting it out completely. Food manufacturers should also be aware that price increases in the cost of vanilla flavours and extracts has very little impact on the overall cost of a finished product for the very reason that the dosage of vanilla used is very small in comparison to other ingredients within a product.

“Particularly concerning is the switch some manufacturers are making from natural to synthetic vanilla. Food applications are sensitive to this change, particularly ice cream and the change in flavour is very noticeable and not always a positive one.

With natural ingredients and clean labelling trending, manufacturers should also bear in mind that consumers are increasingly conscious of non-natural ingredients.”

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