Vanilla Shortage Is Cyclical

The current price of vanilla is 5 to 10 times more than normal, says Philippe de Vienne, co-owner of Epices de Cru, a market in Montreal.

“There are cycles in vanilla and every 10 to 15 years for the past 100 years there’s a shortage,” he said in an interview with CBC. “And then the speculators jump on board. They hoard. It lasts about three years, and then the price goes back to normal.”

But the plant has it’s own cycle, de Vienne says. “It takes three years for the plant to start producing. So if there is a surge in price, people plant, but then it takes three years for the market to catch up.”

“So that’s really the issue. When you get a shortage due to a revolution, a war, a cyclone, then you get a shortage that gets three years to fill back. So people who know how to speculate know how to do that, and then they buy whatever stocks are left and create more dearth.”

For those who want to save a few bucks, or home chefs that love vanilla, de Vienne says that you can buy a dozen beans and put it in a jar with a cup of vodka for a few months. He said you will get homemade vanilla extract “like you’ve never had before.”