(Agence-France Presse) The great chefs are now turning their backs on vanilla. Famed French chef Gilles Marchal, whose restaurant is in Montmartre, Paris, declared with regret that he now works much less with the black and bean-shaped pod.
The reason being that the price is now equivalent to that of gold per kilo, and is eight times the price it was just a few years ago. The price per kilo has jumped from $50 (€42) in 2012-2013 to $400 (€340) in 2016-17, according to a 2017 Cyclope report (the bible of commodities traded internationally).
Several factors explain this price spike including uncontrolled market speculation and a vanilla crop failure in Madagascar, which produces 80% of the global supply. The island was also hit by Cyclone Enawo in March 2017, which destroyed many of the vanilla orchids which produce the seed pods, and this was followed by a major drought.
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