Cornelius urges food manufacturers not to abandon use of natural ingredient in volatile vanilla market

Cornelius urges food manufacturers not to abandon use of natural ingredient in volatile vanilla market

(Posted on 16/03/16)

Cornelius Group is urging its customers not to abandon the use of vanilla in light of price increases and to instead just use less of the popular flavour.

Vanilla bean pricing has increased by as much as ten times compared to just five years ago but Rachel Fordham, dairy, desserts and beverages sales manager at Cornelius, said that a good flowering season this year should see prices level towards the end of the year and begin to decrease through 2017.

“There are a number of things that food manufacturers are being tempted to do because of the high cost,” said Rachel. “One is to drop vanilla from their ingredients list altogether, another is to start using synthetic vanilla as opposed to natural, and the other is to stock pile for fear that prices will continue to rise.”

She added: “All indications point to a good crop and improved harvest this year so by the end of 2016 prices should begin to fall as a result. In the meantime, we are urging food manufacturers to simply use less vanilla rather than cutting it out completely. Food manufacturers should also be aware that price increases in the cost of vanilla flavours and extracts has very little impact on the overall cost of a finished product for the very reason that the dosage of vanilla used is very small in comparison to other ingredients within a product.

“Particularly concerning is the switch some manufacturers are making from natural to synthetic vanilla. Food applications are sensitive to this change, particularly ice cream, and the change in flavour is very noticeable and not always a positive one. With natural ingredients and clean labelling trending, manufacturers should also bear in mind that consumers are increasingly conscious of non-natural ingredients.”

Whilst the cost of vanilla is high, the quality of vanilla has become an issue within the industry as farmers are incentivised to pick the beans before they reach maturity, meaning they are not as rich in flavour.

We are able to offer a range of vanillas to the food industry through a number of suppliers including Nielsen Massey Vanillas, a leading producer of vanilla extracts.

Rachel said: “Thanks to our suppliers, we are able to supply a wide range of high quality natural vanillas to our customers which will enable them to get the very best from the flavour for their application during this volatile period in the market. There is no reason why a manufacturer should not look at the different varieties of natural vanilla to enhance their products. Using a more flavoursome variety may be the solution to using less without sacrificing it completely.”

Vanilla has masking notes so can be added into spicier, more savoury bakery products to tone down stronger flavours, yet it can also be used to bring out the flavour of other ingredients. It also enhances the ability to taste other flavours by intensifying them without being overpowering. For example, it can boost the inherent flavours found within certain spices, coffee and nuts – all ingredients used within the sweet and savoury bakery sector. 

For more information, please contact Rachel Fordham on 07801 638 030 or