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Madagascar unrest raises interest in Indian vanilla Print
The political unrest in Madagascar, the world’s leading producer of vanilla, has highlighted the need for ingredients companies to diversify supply and eyes have turned to India as an alternative source.

Madagascar has witnessed the worst unrest it has seen in years with weeks of anti-government strikes and protests culminating in the resignation of President Marc Ravalomanana on Tuesday, and former DJ Andry Rajoelina appointed by the military in his place.

The French family firm Eurovanille, which has been sourcing vanilla from Madagascar for about 20 years, said that so far supply has not been affected. Eurovanille supplies vanilla pods, extracts and pastes. However, in 2003 Eurovanille turned to India for supply, where it now has a partner, because it “needed a more stable source” for vanilla.

Until recently, India was not a significant producer of vanilla, which used to be grown only in the tropics but the company looked to India for security in terms of climate and politically because Madagascar was “vulnerable”.

The company set up their vanilla factory in Pollachi in the Tamil Nadu province in the south of India in 2003 where they produce 40 per cent of their vanilla.

India is the second largest vanilla producer in the world. Indian vanilla is of the same variety (planifolia) as Madagascar so the aroma and taste are very similar. A difference in perception can be subjective but the Indian vanilla tends to provide a creamier flavour and also has stronger caramel notes than the Bourbon.

Bourbon vanilla is an appellation or a brand and only vanilla produced in Madagascar, Mauritius or Réunion Island is allowed to carry the Bourbon label. Indian vanilla provides an alternative to Bourbon vanilla and is said to be a little bit cheaper.


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