top of page

Why is vanilla so expensive?

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

Vanilla is one of the world’s most popular spices and an important ingredient in products ranging from chocolate to perfume… Madagascar supplies 80-85% of the world’s natural vanilla. To read more : The Economist

Vanilla is expensive due to labor-intensive cultivation, lengthy growth periods, susceptibility to diseases and weather, geographic limitations, hand-intensive processing, market speculation, high demand for natural vanilla, and sustainability concerns.

Labor-Intensive Cultivation

Vanilla beans come from the vanilla orchid plant (Vanilla planifolia). The cultivation of vanilla is labor-intensive and requires manual pollination because its natural pollinator. Each vanilla flower must be pollinated by hand, and the process is delicate and time-consuming.

👉 Learn more in our blog : Madagascar Vanilla : prepared with love

Lengthy Growth Period

Vanilla orchids take several years to mature and produce beans. It typically takes about 3-5 years for a vanilla plant to start producing vanilla pods, and they continue to produce for around 15-20 years if well-tended. This long growth period adds to the overall cost.

Vulnerability to Disease and Weather

Vanilla orchids are susceptible to various diseases, pests, and adverse weather conditions. Crop losses due to disease or extreme weather events can lead to fluctuations in supply and higher prices.

Geographic Constraints

Vanilla is primarily grown in specific regions of the world, including Madagascar, Comoros, Tahiti, and a few other tropical countries. The geographic constraints of where vanilla can be cultivated limit the global supply.

Hand Harvesting and Curing

After the vanilla beans are grown, they must be carefully hand-harvested and cured. The curing process involves blanching, sweating, drying, and conditioning the beans, and it can take several months to complete. This labor-intensive process contributes to the cost.

👉 Learn more in our blog : Madagascar Vanilla : prepared with love

Market Speculation

The vanilla market has been prone to price fluctuations due to speculation by traders, increased demand for natural flavors, and supply disruptions caused by weather events or political instability in producing regions.

High Demand for Natural Vanilla

Natural vanilla is preferred over synthetic vanillin in various food and beverage products because of its perceived superior flavor. This high demand for natural vanilla, coupled with limited supply, further drives up prices.

Sustainability Concerns

Sustainable vanilla production practices, which often involve organic and fair trade certifications, can also add to the cost as they require additional resources and care.

In conclusion, why vanilla is so expensive ?

The intricate and resource-intensive journey from vanilla orchid to the aromatic pods we cherish, coupled with market dynamics and environmental factors, collectively contribute to the premium price tag of this coveted spice.

vanilla expensive

Matana is a Quebec company, specializing in the sale of natural, organic and solidarity-based agriculture products from Madagascar (Bourbon vanilla, superior quality cocoa, baobab, etc.).

The product distribued by Matanah are intended for professionals and maufacturers in food and cosmetics industries, so they can meet the expectations of their consumers which are more and more demanding about quality, origin and transparency of the products they consume and buy.

Our products are selected in order to preserve their essence, taste and authenticity.

Vanilla beans for professionnals

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page