Growing & Harvesting Vanilla Beans is Labor Intensive
Each vanilla bean blossom will only produce one fruit or bean pod. The blossom, which opens for only one day must be hand-pollinated within a few hours after it opens, otherwise, it wilts and dies.
Since growing vanilla beans is so labor-intensive, it is the second most expensive spice after saffron.
The Curing Process is Very Time-Consuming.
After the seed pods are harvested the seed pods, each one is soaked in hot water, then laid out in the Sun during the day and then, while warm, are wrapped in blankets and allowed to sweat overnight.
Weather & Poor Crops
The price of Madagascan vanilla rose by nearly 150 percent after a poor harvest in 2015.
In March 2017, Cyclone Enawo hit Madagascar. Since about 80% of the world’s vanilla fields are in Madagascar, the price of vanilla beans soared even higher.
The Demand for Natural Vanilla
The demand for vanilla beans has been steadily increasing, not only due to poor crops and weather but also due to consumer demand for natural foods that are free of artificial ingredients.
Consumers now want real vanilla, not imitation flavoring. Vanilla is not only used in vanilla-flavored products, it is also added to other products like chocolate to counter the bitterness of genuine cocoa.
For more detail read our blog, "Why Vanilla Beans Are So Expensive?"