Vanilla beans on a green stone. (Photo by: Paolo Picciotto/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Here's Why Vanilla Extract Is So Expensive
By Camryn Teder
Pure vanilla extract can go for $1-$3 per ounce, depending on the brand or store, but if you’re looking for the best flavor, it’s worth it. It's possible to make your own at home or substitute it for something else, but it will be less potent and flavorful than pure vanilla extract.
The vanilla plant only grows in limited parts of the world, thriving primarily in Madagascar, where 80% of the world's supply of natural vanilla comes from. Challenges such as devastating storms, the pressures of deforestation, and intensive labor have contributed to the rising cost creating difficulty in meeting growing demands.
The Boston Globe documents that the cost of vanilla beans has increased by more than $300 per pound, and the price of the extract itself has doubled. Sadly, since new vanilla orchids take about four years to grow flowers, the price isn't showing signs of dropping anytime soon.