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Vanilla: An Organic OriginalVanilla: An Organic Original

Kimberly Decker

September 9, 2009

1 Min Read
Vanilla: An Organic Original

No discussion of health-and-wellness flavors would be complete without acknowledging the growth in organics. Whether these ingredients actually are more healthful will have to wait for a different discussion, but it goes without saying that the organic landscape looks very different than it did even a decade ago.

For some ingredient and flavor suppliers, organics are nothing new. The big thing in vanilla, and its been occurring over the last three or four years, is the growth of organic vanilla, and the growth of organic demand, says Craig Nielsen, chief executive officer, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Waukegan, IL. Basically, all vanilla beans are grown inherently organically. Theyre grown in areas of the world where, truthfully, they really cant afford fertilizers or pesticides. What makes the difference, he says, is whether growers and suppliers have gone through the trouble of attaining organic certification.

Weve been certified organic for at least 10 years now, and when we were first producing and sourcing the organic, it was much harder to get, Nielsen says. As the trend has continued, the availability of the organic beans has greatly increased, and the organic markup or premium has decreased.

More importantly, the quality is there. As with any product, youre going to get a wide variety of quality, whether its organic or conventional, depending on how theyre doing things, Nielsen says. But organic has always been a fairly high quality, very similar to conventional, if not, on average, maybe a little bit higher.

Ultimately, thats what really matters.


About the Author(s)

Kimberly Decker

Contributing Editor

Kimberly J. Decker is a Bay Area food writer that has worked in product development for the frozen sector and written about food, nutrition and the culinary arts. Reach her at [email protected]

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