People are often shocked when they find out that vanilla is one of the most expensive spices in the world. It’s hard to believe that something as simple as a pod with little flavor could be so costly – and yet, people continue to buy it for use in everything from their morning coffee, to cakes and pastries.
This article will explore five things you might not know about why vanilla is so expensive, and what we can do about it:
1) Vanilla is incredibly labor intensive- It takes years of careful hand pollination combined with intricate processing before the plant produces vanilla pods. This lengthy process drives up costs.
2) Environment plays a major role in the production- Vanilla only grows in tiny pockets of the world. This makes it very difficult to grow and harvest, contributing to its high price point.
3) Most of the countries where it grows are also some of the poorest-Most vanilla is grown on small family farms, who live much the same way that their ancestors did for centuries. This adds another layer to its expensive nature by driving up transportation costs.
4) Some countries have used vanilla as a means to drive their own economy-In places like Madagascar and Indonesia, political instability has been orchestrated by government officials who control or tax their local vanilla industries as they please. Farmers are denied access to their own vanilla fields, and the price increases.
5) Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in the world-This has led to a worldwide demand for high quality vanilla, and really drives up the price once again.
Now that we know why vanilla is so expensive, let’s take a look at what we can do about it:
1) Buy from a reputable retailer who supports fair trade practices – Most supermarkets have begun to stock fair trade certified vanilla by Rainforest Foods, which has been known to sell at 7 times cheaper than conventional brands. This will allow you to support small farmers while keeping your costs low.
2) Check out kitchen supply stores for the real deal – These smaller, independent stores can sometimes be more willing to sell high-quality, organic pods for a cheaper price.
3) Try growing it yourself- Vanilla only needs one pollinator to thrive, so if you have a green thumb, this is an easy way to save money on your own supply of vanilla! (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/spices/vanilla/growing-vanilla-bean.htm)
4) Visit your local farmers market – You can buy real vanilla beans here, at a fair price and for a growing number of different reasons. They are organic, chemical free, and fair trade.
5) Buy it from Amazon – For a fairly good deal on organic vanilla pods (but no free shipping!), you can order them from Amazon. The company does not support fair trade practices in its sourcing of vanilla, but is almost as expensive as conventional brands, with higher shipping costs.
So there you have it! There are some pretty simple steps you can take to reduce the price of your favorite spice and keep the cost down while supporting sustainable farming practices.
Why is vanilla so expensive?
It is one of the most popular spices in the world, and is also some of the most expensive. This article will explore why vanilla is so expensive and what you can do to help.
Vanilla has always been a popular spice because it enhances almost every food it touches, but in recent years its price has skyrocketed beyond measure. There are several factors that make up this rise in price:
The fact that vanilla beans take years to produce – Vanilla pods only grow once a year, and require nearly a year of careful pollination before they can be harvested. Once they are harvested, they must first be fermented for another three weeks before they can be used in cooking. All of this time and effort results in a limited supply for an ever-increasing demand.
Vanilla beans grow in only one part of the world – Only about 10% of the vanilla beans produced each year are produced in Madagascar, creating an imbalance between supply and demand. Combine that with the fact that these areas are also some of the poorest regions in the world, and you have an increasing cost for vanilla pods.
Poor farmers make up most of those who produce vanilla – The majority of farms where vanilla is grown are small family farms that make little money off their crop each year. This leaves them with very little to invest in improving farming methods, which only exacerbates the problem by limiting production even more.
Governments have infrequently used vanilla as a political tool – In Indonesia and Madagascar, farmers have been prevented from harvesting their own vanilla crops. This drives up the price as well as the demand, which leads to higher profits for those who are involved in the trade.
The flavor of vanilla is desired by many – The popularity of vanilla means that there’s a huge demand for it around the world. This high demand means that more people are willing to pay the inflated price because they know how much it is worth it.
Vanilla only gets more expensive as time goes on because of these factors combined, and sometimes even due to natural disasters like floods or droughts that cause decreases in foreign supply. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to help:
Buy from a reputable retailer who supports fair trade practices. The amount you pay for vanilla will help to keep the farmers and their families who grow the spice in business, as well as keep their farms growing. This is one of the biggest reasons why farming vanilla is so expensive in the first place- with little return on investment, they can’t afford to grow it at all. Buying from a fair trade store gives that needed return on investment by keeping them from going out of business altogether.
Is vanilla the most expensive?
No; that title is probably held by saffron or truffles. But, it is up there with the best of them and definitely costs more than you think. It’s not cheap, it’s not easy to grow, and it isn’t made by Coca-Cola. But if you want the real thing, you must pay for it like the real deal.
Why Is Fleece So Expensive?
This week I am out of town at a volleyball tournament all week long! Truth be told I was leaving early just to get away from Hell Week at school just so I could spend some quality time with my family while they are still at home. I had already spent the Wednesday and Thursday nights watching several hours of volleyball games, so I didn’t have much to do once I got home.
My parents were understandably upset that I was leaving the day before Thanksgiving and they wanted to know why. After talking with them for a while, we came up with an answer to their question: why is fleece so expensive? So here it is: why is fleece so expensive?
The supply – With respect to wool as a raw material, often times animals are slaughtered too early or meet other untimely deaths resulting in significant losses in supply. For example, 90 percent of sheep in the United States die before they reach market weight. Sheep, being ruminants and not machines, take a long time to reach market weight, therefore this results in high mortality. These losses also result in increased costs over the cost of a standard raw material.
Wool has a short lifespan – Wool has an average life span of only five years. Though this isn’t necessarily bad, it does mean that prices are often based on current supply and demand. Due to its short lifespan, the price is often influenced by overall supply and demand for the raw material.
Wool has a short supply – Wool is produced all over the world, but there aren’t nearly as many sheep in the world as there are people who want it. Because of this, it requires more land to produce on than other raw materials.
The demand – The two biggest markets for wool are apparel and carpeting. Due to the short lifespan and limited supply of wool, wool prices fluctuate greatly from year to year depending on demand and supply. With apparel, due to its competition with synthetics, wool is often used as a low cost alternative for soft fabrics made from natural fibers. Wool also is used in carpeting because of its insulating properties.
Wool can’t be replaced in the textile industry – In addition to the increased costs of wool, it is often used as a benchmark by which other fiber content and production costs are measured. For example, if you need 10 ounces of cotton, you may have to pay $1.50 per pound for your cotton versus only $0.10 per pound for one pound of wool. So given these factors, it is no surprise to see how expensive wool can be over its life span compared with other fibers such as cotton.
How Much Can A T-Shirt Cost To Make?
Have you ever wondered how much your t-shirts cost to make? What about the ones you are buying at the mall or online? I have always wondered how much they really were costing me to make. So here is the average price of making a simple t-shirt from start to finish:
The raw materials – According to Cheapism.com, the average price for one pound of cotton is about $0.30, so one t-shirt should cost about $0.30. However, many times cotton is imported from other countries, so the price is higher. Industrial cotton which is used in t-shirts and jeans costs an average of $0.35 per pound and some farmers will even pay up to $0.65 per pound for their cotton crop. So now we have a new total of $0.65 for one pound of cotton, which means one t-shirt should cost about $1.30 to make (now we are approaching the price of a ferrari).
The labor – For this next part I just looked at the hourly wage to make sure I was getting accurate numbers. The average hourly wage for a clothing factory worker in China is around $1-$1.25 per hour, so that means that one t-shirt should cost about $1.25 to make (we are getting more into the price range of a new car!).
The shipping – When you order a t-shirt online it will most likely be shipped from China. The average cost for a package from China is $5-$8, so after all is said and done one t-shirt should cost about $7 to make.
So that means that on average one t-shirt should cost an average of $7.30 to make. That is a lot of money and I am sure that it is more than I would ever be willing to pay for one t-shirt at the mall or online.
Is it worth it to buy real vanilla extract?
Vanilla is the most expensive spice available. It’s also the best and purest flavor in the world. So what do they sell it for? A bag of beans can cost $15-$50, and a bottle of vanilla extract will run between $20-$100. How much work goes into making these extracts? I watched a short video on you tube with this experiment going at it:
How expensive is real vanilla? Watch this video to find out and see if you can tell the fake from the real thing.
How expensive is it to live in California?
When I was growing up my dad used to always say that living in California was very expensive. Sometimes he would say it with a bit of a laugh about how expensive everything was, but he would also stress the importance of having money saved so that we could always be prepared for something bad happening. Evidently my mom agreed that living in California was really expensive because she would sometimes remind us to not spend so much money when we were at the store. For example, she would remind me not to buy too many wigs because they were really expensive. We would laugh because she would be right, you could easily spend $100 at the wig shop without blinking an eye.
Cost of living in California:
How much do you think a car is really worth? I’ve always been curious about this question and I have seen a few different opinions on the internet. For example, one article I read said that a 2014 Kia Soul was worth around $5,000, which means for less than $4000 you could get a brand new Kia Soul with all of the bells and whistles. The same article went on to say that a used 2010 Kia Soul was going for only around $1800. I’m not sure what to make of these numbers, but it is interesting to think about.
Also, one interesting article I read said that the price of a car goes up about 2% every two years and that if you own a car for five years it’s going to cost you $10,000 more than it did when you bought it.
You might be surprised by the prices that are associated with the different raw materials and products that we take for granted. It is important to understand how much things cost before you stop and think about buying them. By understanding what things cost, you can make smarter buying decisions, which will ultimately save you money in the long run.