The American Chemical Society has reported a widespread vanilla shortage that’s causing quite the dilemma for food manufacturers. Vanilla extract is used in an estimated 18,000 food products across the globe.
With consumer enthusiasm for natural ingredients gaining significant momentum in recent years, major food manufacturers like Nestle and Kellogg’s announced they would be eliminating artificial flavoring in their products. As a result, the demand for natural vanilla extract has reached an alltime high.
But the timing couldn’t be worse for the main source of vanilla production. 80 percent of the world’s vanilla comes from small farms in Madagascar, which has just experienced a terrible growing season. High demand and low yields have caused vanilla prices to skyrocket to nearly ten times the average amount.
While there has been talk of creating a genetically modified alternative, it would be a very tough sell to consumers trending toward all natural options.