Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1194330

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Page 87 of 115

WINTER 2020 85 team make regular visits to the countries it sources from throughout the year, he says. Nielsen-Massey emphasizes the country of origin in its vanillas, including two single-origin vanilla extracts it launched in 2019 from Uganda and Indonesia. The company's single-origin line also includes Madagascar Bourbon, Mexican, and Tahitian pure vanilla extracts. "[Vanilla] can manifest a broad range of flavor profiles depending upon the variety of orchid it is produced from and the region's terroir," says Nielsen. "This is very similar to the differences you see in coffee beans, chocolate, and wine. These differences add unique nuance to our vanillas' flavor profile and by extension the dishes they're used in." Other Challenges Warming weather patterns around the world could also be impacting the vanilla crop, says Manuata Martin, president of Tahitian Gold Co., Signal Hill, Calif., which produces a variety of vanilla products primarily for foodservice and commercial customers. He says reduced cold stress on the orchid vines causes fewer flowers to bloom, which translates to fewer bean bods and less vanilla produced. "With the demand growing and the supply dwindling, it's been tough to manage," he says. Add to these challenges the other problems vanilla farmers face, which include fighting off the crop by adverse weather and other natural disasters. "The global vanilla supply chain is fragile, given that many of the best areas for growing vanilla are subject to natural disasters or political instability," says Matt Nielsen, vice president of strategic initiatives for Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Waukegan, Ill. In 2017, 30 percent of Madagascar's vanilla crop was damaged by a cyclone, for example, which caused a significant spike in global vanilla prices, he says. Last year, more than 15 percent of Indonesia's vanilla crop was impacted by earthquakes and tsunamis. Nielsen says the global vanilla industry has undergone several cycles during the last few decades, but demand for real vanilla is on the rise. "What's different now is the magnitude of consumer interest in pure and natural food products," he says. "As a company that's been in business for more than a century, we've experienced price and supply volatility several times in the past. The challenge for vanilla, unlike most other agricultural commodities, is that its pricing is opaque given that there is no public exchange, and it takes several years to significantly expand production." As a result, Nielsen-Massey focuses on growing its sourcing relationships in vanilla- growing regions around the world and supporting its current farmers. Members of the company's Two Types of Vanilla Vanilla is derived from the pods of two varieties of orchids that grow only in tropical climates. More than 160 species of vanilla orchids are grown around the world, but only two—Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla tahitensis—are used commercially to produce vanilla. Vanilla planifolia is native only to Mexico, but was spread around the world by Spanish conquistadors. Vanilla tahitensis is a hybrid that was created using Vanilla planifolia and another vanilla orchid. Vanilla planifolia is by far the most common vanilla, and is usually named after the region where it is grown, such as Mexican vanilla or Madagascar vanilla. Bourbon vanilla, named after the island of Bourbon (now called Reunion) is a name commonly used to describe Vanilla planifolia that is grown anywhere in the Indian Ocean, and sometimes elsewhere. Tahitian vanilla is much less widely grown and derives its name from the country of Tahiti, one of the places where it was grown initially. It has less of the vanillin flavor compound than Vanilla planifolia, but it has distinct floral and fruity flavor notes. It is much less common than Vanilla planifolia, but has long been used in both Tahitian and French cooking. Source: tahitianvanilla.com PHOTOS: NIELSEN-MASSEY VANILLAS

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