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WORLD NEWS | Food shortages

Vanilla now costs more than silver, thanks to recent cyclone


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 5:38 PM - A recent cyclone near Madagascar has made vanilla is so expensive that some U.K. ice cream parlours have stopped selling it as a flavour, the BBC reports.

After saffron vanilla is currently the priciest spice at the planet, costing nearly $800 a kilogram. That makes it more expensive than silver.

Most of the world's vanilla comes from Madagascar, where it is harvested from the vanilla orchid flower.

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But the island nation is still recovering from cyclone Enawo, which hit the area in March 2017 and decimated several plantations.

Vanilla is labour-intensive to cultivate, so it was never considered a cheap spice -- but the recent price surge puts it in a whole other league of luxury.

“Vanilla has hit these cycles every 10-15 years for the past 100 years. Currently, we estimate that we’re past the peak as prices and supplies ‘seem’ to be stabilizing,” Ethné and Philippe de Vienne of Montreal-based Épices de Cru told the National Post.

“If this cycle holds true, we should start seeing prices declining within a year or two, followed by a quick collapse as stocks pile up and speculators take their profit and farmers are literally left holding the bag.”

It's been reported that more than 95 per cent of vanilla-flavoured foods on the market are created using a synthetic, more cost-effective flavouring called vanillin.

Source: National Post

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