Buy Madagascar Vanilla Beans
Madagascar generates around 80% of the world’s total vanilla inventory, and is sought year after year for its quality and taste. The climatic, cultural, and curing conditions come together into some endemic and unique cocktail of factors that forge the optimal vanilla flavor. You’ve found the best place to buy Madagascar vanilla beans direct. You’ve already probably seen many of our amazon distributors and English-speaking resellers in North America Asia and Europe, and seen our beans re-imaged and remarketed. This is where you can get your own vanilla direct, or even make your own vanilla company and label!
Prices are dynamic in the vanilla industry, but the percent margins for distributors and clients are always healthy and generous, and we can unlock them for you to keep your permanent profitable supply lines or just give you more direct control, or stable super quality year-round for your own personal use!
There are 2 ways to purchase – you may directly purchase and have vanilla shipped from Madagascar to your residential or business address, in wax paper cartons or vacuum pack (when and where legal.) Or, you can buy online extremely fast and cheap to have it automatically shipped to you, from fully modern and digitized warehouses in North America, Europe, and Asia, all e-commerce enabled, with tracking and arriving in 2-4 business days.
Custom orders can be configured for any client or craft brewery or bakery, whether you’re Coca-Cola or having a cupcake party, but all vanilla beans come from physical vanilla stocks in the island or these local offices and warehouses.
Click to go straight to the section with the handy guide below:
Madagascar Vanilla Bean Sellers | Certified Organic | Who Buys Vanilla | Vanilla Growing Season, Vanilla Curing Season, Vanilla Exporting Season | Vanilla Lab Testing | Buy Vanilla Cuts | Buy Vanilla Splits | Target Vanillin and Humidity Ratio in Nature | SAVA Group of Exporters | Quick Curing | Vanilla and Politics | Internship Program
Vanilla in Madagascar leaves out of or through the East Coast near Sambava, Antalaha, Tamatave, or the capital city airport in Ivato, Antananarivo. This track does not make too much sense for small orders due to economies of scale, but many medium modest, or very customized (or custom-sized!) orders can pay off by ordering direct.
Economies of scale dictate the margin you can make in retail vanilla. For example, if we do 50 kgs each shipment x 10 shipments (a bit more than 100 pounds per shipment) for 1000 kgs, the export setup costs and outgoing expense is x 10 (as some fixed cost expenses don’t depend on quantity, but are obligatory whether with one 25 kg box or one 1000 kg pallette.)…Therefore you pay a redundant and ridiculous carousel of transport to the airlift x 10, customs fee x 10, District tax x 10 , the bank’s channel “Gasynet” duty x 10, and so on. So the best prices for vanilla and accessing powerful price leverage really starts around 100kg and up, as that is when you abolish these compounding fixed fees, and reach rates on carriers whereas air cargo can also make vanilla transportation as low as $3, 5, or $10 per kg only.
Fraud or domestic scams in Madagascar vanilla usually try to collect payment with papers, showing complicated lingo to elicit a deposit without fulfilling or sending any beans. Scammers or shady traders or flippant brands can bait with low or fake prices, alien or adulterated qualities, or occassionally false origins (Indian or Indonesian beans in place of Madagascar.) Domestically however, vanilla fraud often tries to undervalue outgoing invoices (for example, paying $450 to Madagascar banks, while $100 to a French one…while the companies convicted and blacklisted by the US embassy before (several staff worked in security here before working at MVC) were typically doing this too, while lobbying and bribing to create a price floor in local legislation so that everybody else on the island was stuck with price minimums domestically while they could offload foreign stocks cheaply from France.
If you come to Madagascar to inspect your beans before you buy, whether with us or any registered licensed exporter, the customs authority is obliged to fulfill its lawful duty and peg a bank transfer to an export and phyto certificate as well. In other words, to legally export Madagascar vanilla, it must be licensed and enabled through tax payment tracking a combination of pegged value, pegged quantity, and fixed price inputs.
Madagascar Vanilla Bean Sellers
Buy Madagascar vanilla beans in several yearly vanilla orders and payment installations, or buy mass orders of vanilla all at once in bulk. The largest buying periods for vanilla tend to be from October to January, and again from April to June. The reason for this glut of orders biannually is due to the start and end of the cyclical vanilla export season in Madagascar. That said, vanilla stock once declared in Madagascar, and once stationed in warehouses abroad, is sold year-round and the market is active constantly.
MVC tends to taste-test vanilla triage in each national and regional core vanilla market regularly to learn more about flavoring of beans and what customers like. We are thrilled to say veritably that In blind taste contests we have beaten the vanilla tastes of Neilssen Massey, Symrise, AP, AH, and TM, Sahanala, Native, Slo, and all of the amazon brands and online e-commerce stores that aren’t derived from our resold beans. We spent many years now since we turned digital and “flew above the farm” up the value chain, working on our taste and tuning it to reach excellence in vanilla flavor to the end user. We are now an active partner with Alain Du Casse and his group from Paris, the best chef perhaps in the world, and do taste tests in France and now tons of intensive tests in Japan including during restaurant and patisserie weeks city-wide and highly organized, and we do brewmaster competitions in the USA and Belgium to keep our noses and palettes trained for terrific triage.
Vanilla taste broadly gets better and beans by the pound or ton cheaper as you go farther south from the Diana region of Madagascar towards the far end of the east coast to Mananara and Manakara. The preferred vanilla taste, subjectively but solidly in taste tests, seems to come from around the 3 main vanilla flavor zones. The first is the growing corridor that starts just north of Sambava from Bemanavika and Antsirabe-nord through to Andapa astride Marojejy. The second goes from Antalaha west of the river toward Makira. The last seems to draw from again a delicious region that runs around the southern rim if the Masoala rainforest down to Maroansetra as well. These 3 rifts have typically the best tasting vanilla.
Online we have seen now at least 5 large American websites and Shopify stores, and several smaller ones, who tend to copy our original writing about vanilla and even our page format, and maybe mix it up a bit to appear original. They even have taken some of our menu format and choices from the header menu. So: You can expect most vanilla websites to follow our lead (or even plagiarize from us, as a few big ones are known to do) year to year. We do appreciate if you report such instances to us, but there is not much we can do about it.
To get the best prices for bulk Madagascar vanilla beans, we generally need to send the vanilla to you directly from Madagascar. There is high throughput and volume moving at our vanilla warehouses abroad, so medium orders can be taken from our stocks in America, Nagoya, Ireland, and Canada, but for multiple tons or over 10 tons, we by default with some exceptions need to move the vanilla out of the island by air freight, via TNR Ivato and usually Paris or Istanbul or Addis Ababa.
At peak times such as October, cargo space for vanilla out of Sambava or Maroansetra back to the international airport is very constrained, and even DHL and couriers wait weeks in que to get any space and try to bribe their way in front of each other onto the aircraft cargo hold. During Coronavirus for example there was literally ONE aircraft only serving ALL of Madagascar, a single tired Dash 8, that was responsible for worryingly every single domestic passenger AND every single internal island cargo shipment by public plane.
Unless you use a private plane (which starts at $2000 for Antalaha/Maroa to Antananarivo) you are only able to be on national airline to move your vanilla out. As the island opens back up, more options for outbound air cargo and cheaper air cargo shipping were possible, but domestic logistics and supply chain problems mean that lead times in Madagascar are almost always approximate and not exact.
Buying vanilla extracts can be as simple as trying a few different makers of vanilla single fold and vanilla double fold (which are mostly what you see in a supermarket and online) if you are a household or just having fun…Or, it can be as complicated as extended lab tests, visits to our farms to pick the specific beans and then cuts and splits…and tuning the exact beans used to extract from and the temperature and time of year…choosing and planning the strengths (folds) and base or pressing or solvents and age and aging vessels and the final vanilla extract vessels and packaging and labeling…if you’re large and industrial.
Selling vanilla at the retail storefront on ground or e-commerce level online marches straight into a huge battlefield of hundreds of small boutique brands, selling and reselling, packaging and pontificating their (always stated as great) beans on amazon and Etsy. To succeed here you tend to need good pre-existing traction from other branded products under the same mark, some previous loyal foodstuffs buyers who you merely introduce a new product to, or something different and distinguished…and in all of these you need a lot of patience.
You also need to order vanilla stock at significant enough vanilla order volumes so that you can get the discounts needed to unlock sustainable profits (margin) for you. While MVC vanilla is in most of the American supermarkets for example, such as Whole Foods and Giant and Safeway, it is usually under a different vanilla beans packaging or label in order to pass on the 35-60% average vanilla profit margin from those supermarkets to the end customers. The label and packaging is the difference in our beans that reach the supermarket. Many of those brands turnover and come and go and live and die over the years. The most successful reseller by volume and continuity that have made escape velocity are probably Beanilla, Rodelle, VBK, A&H, and Vnilla, in the United States. For small orders of several beans, we’d recommend any of them and they all do a good job.
To make your own vanilla brand line needs a niche and some patience, but it typically does work especially in new core vanilla markets in developing or second tier countries in purchasing parity, or as new cross sells in existing spaces where vanilla beans are a natural add-on. We can co-brand and white label vanilla and generally customize your vanilla packaging and parameters if you’d like to foray into these vanilla bean retail battlegrounds, whether on Amazon Etsy or Ecommerce or in farmers markets or supermarkets or boutique brands of vanilla.
We always charge a small premium for packaging vanilla in a custom arrangement or putting a different name on it since this adds materials and labor and sometimes weight and taxes, but generally such turnkey operations mean you can concentrate on just driving volume and growing and we are happy to see your expanding orders and fulfill them for you as well to reach escape velocity. We enjoy this because we also learn a lot an hear a lot of interesting uses and end resting places for vanilla and this in turn enriches both your business and ours, as well as our farmers and families in Madagascar. So reach out if you have a private label gameplan!
Madagascar vanilla beans organic – Yes. Certified organic – Yes.
There are not a lot of certified organic (“bio”) Madagascar vanilla suppliers. and while MVC got their most recent organic re-cert only in 2019, we are the first to admit that it is largely a phantom issue in the crop and craft, and that the industry as a whole is generally organic anyways. – While the veracity of these organic association pronunciations and blustering holds, and the certifications are mandatory for really food labeling as such to the end user, the vanilla industry on the island practices organic agriculture.
Being likely the most labor intensive and thoroughly organic practices of any foodstuff on earth, all Madagascar vanilla is grown using organic practices generally, and certification does give surety and security, however is effectively ornamental in practice. Malagasy (Madagascar native) vanilla growers do not and cannot use pesticides or chemicals, the vanilla Planifolia species and its flavor being extremely easy to die and distort with the slightest hint of this. Vanilla is not the flower or flavor to attempt chemical agricultural pesticides with, as it simply changes flavor and dies, and these aren’t in use.
Buy organic vanilla beans – Certification of Organic Vanilla with MVC Group
Vanilla Growing Season, Vanilla Curing Season, Vanilla Exporting Season
The vanilla harvests and export sprints follow a cycle, a seasonal waxing and waning, peaking around the western holidays. When you’re buying organic Madagascar vanilla beans, or in fact and practice if you want to buy virtually any vanilla beans, the prices and flavor and fine bean export frenzies generally come to a head around October-December, at least on volume. This is NOT when world market prices are set, as that is a fluid and dynamic force that nobody controls, no cartel, nowhere…however it is when demand is best gauged as well as when most large end-of-year stock orders are placed by everybody, everywhere, for holidays, taxes, growing cycles, and general worldwide food and beverage and perfume businesses. To see just how cyclical it is, take a look below:
Who does buy vanilla beans?:
The number of requests vs volumes of orders and certified exports by customs and the Madagascar government and US embassy may be relatively surprising.:
Who asks for vanilla?
India – 67%
Eastern Europe – 22%
Western Europe generally – 21%
United States – 22%
Spain – 8%
France – 4%
China – 4%
Turkey – 1%
Canada – Nil
Japan – Nil
Germany – Nil
Who actually buys vanilla?
Amalgamated (metasynthesized) model actual order volume (SAVA exporters group, Emb.):
United States – 52%
France – 21%
Germany – 12%
China – 8%
Japan – 4%
India – 1%
Others – Nil
The amount of chatter about vanilla does not correlate to the provenance of order volumes and buyers.
In other words, most of the vanilla offers on the market, and even alleged customers on the market and the world wide web, are loud but thin and less-than-serious on sales or stock.
Vanilla Lab Testing for Fungus, Mold, Bacteria, Vanillin, and Humidity
As there are no laboratories of an international standard in Madagascar, the best being in Tana, most serious laboratory testing of vanilla is done abroad with the exception of the all-important phytosanitary certificate (which is the green and white stamped paper form mandatory on ALL vanilla leaving the island, every box.) Basic vanillin level and humidity level tests can also be done here.
Here are the laboratory tests and certificates of analyses for MVC’s vanilla beans:
Test results for good beans from the darkest black gourmet A (wettest safe level) to the driest red extract B (driest flavor-rich level) and for high quality (not trash or inferior) vanilla powder:
“A’s” or Gourmets or Noire as they are sometimes called Whereas the beans with the most humidity are called so looks like this:
Most drier looking or industrial type beans, sometimes referred to as rouge, or “B’s” and sometimes coming in cheaper splits or cuts, look like this:
MVC Powder constituency and specs, or “Certificate of Analysis” (COA) looks like this:
See Our “Vanilla Qualities and Types” Page from the main menu bar for more detail on different grades, qualities, and specifics on vanilla and how to decide.
– You can buy vanilla cuts from Madagascar directly from us, pickup in-store or delivered.
– You can buy vanilla splits from Madagascar directly from us, pickup in-store or delivered.
Target Vanillin and Humidity Ratio in Nature
There is generally an antifungal and ultra-flavorful dance between moisture levels and vanillin levels, and it tracks a biological correspondent ratio. These are the numbers to usually seek, and how to spot fraud in specs and lab results. Truly well-cured vanilla tracks this below for industry, with exceptions only for certain special types of triage:
SAVA Group of Exporters
The GPES (now SEVAM) generally helps to discuss and set prices, negotiate and lobby for new legislation to guard the industry and standards, and helps suggest the export laws and binds the common voice of the largest vanilla companies in Madagascar (and effectively in-so doing, the largest on earth.) It is sometimes a talkshop but a good barometer of what is going on and where prices and practices and headed. One of our MVC leadership, Lancio Cassim, is the President of the group SEVAM.
Exporter Certification and License
One of the MVC’s best heads, and the head of GPES (all vanilla exporters of SAVA group,) speaking and welcoming the President of Madagascar to Antalaha.
Quick curing with mechanized driers or “cuts curing” are a controversial topic in the island, as some feel the practice and machinery are ruining the green market – as everything goes in whole headed, and ironically huge extract companies like Symrise Unilever and players and purveyors of quick cured vanilla focus on a sustainable and responsible end user perception and interpretation yet still engage in this. MVC has the capability and machinery to do this method too, and for large industrial customers asking for this option, still green beans typically aren’t allowed into the machines if they are young-cut and immature. The real difference in curing is a matter of only a few weeks production time over the bourbon method. All beans are by default cured with the traditional bourbon method unless requested otherwise. That said, traditional real bourbon curing is certainly the way to get the best flavor profile, minutely massaging the beans to their full potential and expression. Cuts curing is generally a practice for industry fast fodder. Reach out to us if you are interested in learning more about this.
Vanilla and Politics:
You can read about the MVC occasionally in the Economist and Bloomberg once every few years, and a large recent piece in CBS news in November 2019.
Vanilla doesn’t affect politics outside of Madagascar and is relatively contained within the island but highly interesting.
Some of the families and companies have been around for a century. One of the best companies and most superb families in the world of vanilla, Cooks, had to flee with their family during the cold war when Russians tried to have them assassinated in order to seize production, and hence forced them to flee their farms to Indonesia, not returning until decades later. Threats against lives under “communism that was jostling to become capitalism” permeated this era. Vanilla is one of the industries under France that was meant to showcase abuse and slavery in literature when it is appropriated historically as such, yet is today run by more Chinese/Malagasy/Indian mixed descendants (which is everyone in SAVA now) than it is French. Vanilla is a Madagascar industry, controlled and commanded by Madagascar people.
In the countryside in Madagascar collectors command significant prestige and powers, many times amassing “magasins” (storehouses) of vanilla, harams of wives and girlfriends, large new pickup trucks and SUVs, and shiny new smartphones. All of the trappings of new wealth status are on display from the vanilla supply chain in SAVA, and it isn’t tough to tell who is in the industry, yet a lot of the most powerful collectors prefer to remain out of the spotlight.
Rosewood politics had laced into vanilla as families and politicians vied to make tenuous arrests and accusations of many of SAVA being in the rosewood mafia, the illegal timber trade to China. While many unscrupulous sellers were, the majority of Antalaha detests this mafia and stood against them and their tax evasion and resulting slur on the vanilla market’s reputation.
In the countryside between the northern coasts and Cap Est and the rainforests, collectors have to carry actual cash with them and bring back physical vanilla. As so many people trick them into absconding with money into the jungle, most cash stays in cars or houses as a fair amount of vanilla suppliers actually literally have no ID’s or papers, and cannot be found after they run, nor even triangulated by the use of neighbors, photographs, or citizen databases. There are some ranges amd rivers into the vanilla coast so remote that you need to cross on a barge and use a serious offroad vehicle, and we’ve even had collectors and scouts attacked by witch doctors and attempted poisonings and highway robbery ambushes to make off with cash.
Vanilla is not implemented in presidential or federal politics much, and doesn’t affect global issues between Madagascar and its neighbors, but rather just the brand and intrigues of the island.
Internship in Madagascar with the Madagascar Vanilla Company
Intern with us! – We welcome Vets, Chemists, Marketing Students, Agriculture Students, Tourism and Hospitality Students, ELT, FLT, Film, Public Health, Supply Chain Management Students, etc.
MVC Recent Gallery of the Season
Cured finished vanilla farm price went from $500 to $450 to $400 to $350 to $330 to $310 to $300 to $250 to $220 to $200 to $185 to $150 to $135 to finally around $110 today. It will probably go even lower for finished
In what could be a quality, or could be a price-fixing measure to benefit offshored pre-shipped stocks, the exporters and the government in Mada have instituted a $350 price floor on exported vanilla, and an export cutoff date of May 31/June 1. In past times
The vanilla crop gross yield estimates in Madagascar are going to be relatively unknown for 2019 until the green season starts around July 10 and after. In the meantime, vendors will try to push prices high spinning news and storing away or strategically selling off
MVC Ascending with Air Madagascar’s In-Flight Magazine for 2019 “Vanille volant” Gaining altitude in volumes aboard with a great year’s start! Check us out and the very vanilla featurettes in upcoming issues!
The First Craft Beer Company in Madagascar itself, Red Island Brewing, has started a new collaboration with MVC on a vanilla white ale and a vanilla amber…coming to a tasting flight near you in SAVA, Tana, or the Be in the North!
The scent of SAVA lingers strong in the air this month as everyone prepares for export from mid-October. The industry and inventory management is in a buzz from the beaaches of Antalaha to verdent Vohemar, and even down past Masaola Forest to Mananara and up
The start of the vanilla season kicked off this week with a rush into the deep green countryside of SAVA with bag fulls of cash. The buzz in Sambava and Antalaha has infused the air and the hotels have filled up with foreigners anxious for
NEW! – MVC flagship store opening in Isoraka, downtown Tana, across from No Comment bar/cafe, November 1. NEW! – MVC beans all available point of purchase in Antananarivo downtown location or Tana (TNR) airport location. That same old beautiful magical smell, unmistakable and irresistible, is
Madagascar’s government announced that 2017 export of vanilla can legally commence on October 15th of this year for the new harvest. The price of 1kg of the “black gold” in Sambava is now selling at the farm, from all growers at the local market price