A problem has been discovered in the cooking world: the amount of one of the most popular flavors, vanilla, is decreasing. News Agency National Public Radio reports that the popularity of organic food and ingredients led to vanilla reserves becoming a real deficit.
Synthetic vanillin was widely used for many years, and many farmers involved in growing vanilla threw their work because it did not yield profit. Now, when many people refuse vanilla in favor of natural vanilla pods, they are missed.
In addition to the increased demand for natural vanilla, there is another problem: growing vanilla requires enormous and hard work. Vanilla pods are the seeds of a type of orchid that grows wild in Mexico. Orchids are naturally pollinated – using birds and bees. Madagascar vanilla, however, is the most popular on the market and it was brought to the island and does not have natural pollinators. Each orchid flower must be pollinated manually using special thin sticks. In addition, artificial pollination is not everything: To prepare the vanilla pods, they must be kept in the sun for only one hour a day.
The lack of natural vanilla leads to higher prices for this fragrant ingredient. In NPR, it is estimated that the packaging of Madagascar vanilla is now worth 10 times more than five years ago!
Of course, the lack will not last forever: farmers re-plant and renew vanilla harvest. However, it will take about five years for orchids to produce the first crop.