The global vanilla market has undergone significant fluctuations and changes, with Madagascar remaining the dominant producer, contributing around 80% of the world's supply. Despite challenges such as volatility in production volumes impacted by climate events (e.g., Cyclone Enawo destroying 30% of Madagascar's cultivation) and a highly concentrated market structure with significant market power held by large industrial groups over small producers, the demand for vanilla remains strong. Vanilla is a highly valued spice in various industries, particularly in pastry making, manufacturing of perfumes, and cosmetics. In the years leading up to 2020, there was a notable shift in consumer preferences with a rising interest in product composition and sustainability. This was evidenced by apps like Yuka gaining popularity for providing transparency about the health implications of food and cosmetic products. The structure of the vanilla market sees a fragmented value chain with many smaller actors between growers and exporters. French consumers have been the second-largest consumers of vanilla globally, after the United States, with France holding a significant share of vanilla imports from Madagascar.

The French market is characterized by a preference for natural vanilla and a growing consumption pattern across various sectors such as agri-food and cosmetics. Regulatory frameworks have been established at both the European and national levels, governing the use of vanilla flavorings and specifying the conditions under which the name "Vanilla" can be used. The market also faces competition from synthetic vanilla, which is considerably cheaper than natural vanilla. Despite a drop in prices and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic predicted to reinforce this trend, the interest in natural vanilla and sustainable sourcing remains, with some estates loyal to natural varieties and an incline toward "organic" or "fair trade" label products.

France's Growing Appetite for Vanilla Amidst Fluctuating Global Dynamics

In France, the allure of vanilla remains strong, with the average consumption reaching fascinating levels, as individuals partake in approximately 5.6 grams of vanilla annually, showcasing its position as the country's most preferred flavor. This demand significantly outstrips the consumption rates of other leading countries, such as the United States, Indonesia, and Mexico. The majority of France's vanilla needs are met through imports, primarily from Madagascar, a country that singularly supplies between 75 and 80 percent of French vanilla imports, amounting to a staggering value of nearly 180 million euros. France sits as the world's second-largest importer of vanilla, capturing roughly between 15 and 20 percent of the global market share. Historically, Madagascar has been critical to fulfilling the French appetite for vanilla, cornering a quarter of its export destinations, just trailing behind the United States. Notably, France not only imports but also re-exports a portion of imported vanilla to other nations, particularly within the European Union, as well as to America and the United Kingdom, thereby playing a significant role in the international vanilla trade. The French market is characterized by rapid growth in sectors that traditionally consume vanilla.

The agri-food industry, comprising industrial chocolate makers, dairy product manufacturers, and industrial ice cream makers, continues to drive the demand. Furthermore, the cosmetics industry is notable for integrating vanilla into the production of perfumes and personal care products. In addition to these industries, French consumers themselves, either individually or through artisanal producers like pastry and chocolate makers, contribute significantly to the consumption of vanilla in its various forms, ranging from natural vanilla beans to synthetic vanilin molecules. Despite the wealth of vanilla varieties available worldwide, French consumers demonstrate a strong preference for Bourbon Vanilla, which accounts for roughly three-quarters of the country's vanilla consumption. This preference underscores the significance of product quality and the transparency of ingredient sourcing in consumer choices. Surveys reveal that French consumers are increasingly cognizant of the makeup of their products, with a majority actively investigating the ingredients and compositions of their beauty and food products before making a purchase.

Overall, France's market for vanilla illustrates a complex interplay of cultural preference, industry demands, and global supply chains. With the consistent emphases on product quality, transparency, and sustainable supply chains, the French market for vanilla stands poised to continue its growth in the face of an ever-evolving global landscape and consumer awareness.

Dominant Forces and Niche Players in the Global Vanilla Industry

The vanilla market exhibits a multifaceted landscape, featuring a range of actors from smallholder farmers to multinational corporations. Each plays a pivotal role in the chain of production, processing, distribution, and utilization of this precious spice. Here's a closer look at these diverse market participants.

Vanilla Production and Export

  • At the core of vanilla production are the 80,000 small-scale producers in Madagascar, which harbors the lion's share of global vanilla cultivation. These producers are the backbone of the industry, dedicating their expertise to cultivate the vanilla orchids and painstakingly pollinate them by hand. In the export domain, the Group of Vanilla Exporters in Madagascar (GEVM) stands out, coordinating efforts to navigate the intricate global market. Similarly, Mavany enters the scene as another significant exporter, contributing to the flow of vanilla from Madagascar's rich plantations to the world stage.


Vanilla Processing and Distribution

  • Transitioning from export to the processing and distribution phase, companies like Mane and Eurovanille take center stage.
  • Mane, a seasoned player with an impressive heritage in flavor and fragrance solutions, extends its reach beyond vanilla into a broad array of aromatic compounds.
  • Eurovanille, on its side, specializes in processing the raw product into a more refined form ready for culinary and industrial uses.
  • Nielsen-Massey has carved its niche as a purveyor of premium vanilla products, catering to discerning customers who seek top-quality flavorings. With a rich legacy in craftsmanship, Nielsen-Massey balances tradition with innovation.
  • Aust, although smaller in scale, plays a critical role in ensuring the distribution of vanilla products, maintaining quality and authenticity throughout its offerings.
  • Vanipro might be a lesser-known name compared to its counterparts but is no less important in the value chain, contributing to the intricate network that brings vanilla from the growers to the global market.


Marketing of Vanilla

On the broader marketing front, giants like McCormick, Danone, and Unilever are significant users and distributors of vanilla in various forms.

McCormick is a heavyweight in spices and condiments, infusing vanilla into a myriad of products across its vast food portfolio. Danone applies its expertise in dairy to seamlessly incorporate vanilla into yogurts, beverages, and other health-focused treats, while Unilever, with its expansive reach in food and personal care, utilizes vanilla to enchant consumers with flavored foods and fragranced cosmetics. 

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

Vanilla designates the fruit of the orchid Vanilla planifolia commonly called vanilla, which is found in the undergrowth of tropical rainforests. It comes in the form of a pod that has an aromatic fragrance and flavor. The transformation from an odorless fruit to a richly aromatic spice requires a long and methodical process called the "preparation".

The vanilla industry is divided into :

  • The part in upstream which consists of the vanilla farming and fruit recovery. This activity is performed by tropical countries, in particular Madagascar, which accounts for about 80% of world production.
  • The part in primary output, which includes the transformation of the fruit into a spice through a methodical process called "preparation". It sometimes takes place directly on the production site, but is often carried out by western multinationals.
  • The secondary downstream part which refers to the production of finished products (pod, powder, paste, natural flavor, artificial flavor, syrup or sugar) distributed to final consumers who are mainly in developed countries.

Vanilla is mainly used in pastry making but also as a perfume in cosmetology or in the manufacture of candles, beauty products, medical care or air fresheners for example.

The United States, France and Germany account for about 80% of the global vanilla trade between them and are the main players in the downstream part of the value chain. In contrast, the Madagascar provides the bulk of the world's vanilla supply, some of it upstream. For the past 10 years, world production has been around 2500 tons per year.

Apart from French Polynesia and Reunion Island, which grow it, the French market focuses on the import, preparation and sale of vanilla. The France is a European leader in the vanilla trade and represents 14% of world imports of vanilla, which it partly re-exports.

The market is relatively concentrated in terms of producing countries, but natural vanilla production is now facing competition from synthetic vanilla. This segment is growing due to its insensitivity to weather conditions and its very low price.

While vanilla prices have exploded in recent years, however, the year 2020 seems to herald a fall in prices and the global Covid-19 pandemic is expected to reinforce this trend. Finally, while artificial vanilla is gaining ground, some vanilla-using estates remain faithful to natural vanilla, thus supporting the development of more sustainable sources of supply with "organic" or "fair trade" products, for example.

List of charts

  • World vanilla production
  • Main vanilla producers
  • French vanilla imports and exports
  • Vanilla importing countries
  • Breakdown of French exports of unground and pulverized vanilla by country
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Latest news

Danone opens a second plant for plant-based products in France - 12/02/2024
  • Danone inaugurates a new plant dedicated to the manufacture of dairy alternatives in France
  • Danone has completely converted its Villecomtal-sur-Arros yogurt plant in the Gers department into a unit dedicated to Alpro-brand plant-based beverages. 43 million euros of investment
  • Production, mainly of oat juice cartons, is 90% destined for Europe.
  • Danone now has four milk-alternative production units in Europe. Two in France, at Issenheim and Villecomtal in the Gers region, one in Sweden, at Lunnarp, and the fourth at Wevelgem in Belgium.
  • Vegetable-based products have become "a strategic focus" for the world's number one in ultra-fresh products.
  • Danone took the t turn in 2017 with the $12.5 billion acquisition of US group WhiteWave.
  • In France, ultra-fresh products are deeply rooted in diets.
  • Plant milk accounts for just 4% of the traditional dairy products market by volume and 7.4% by value.
  • The plant-based milk market is worth 165 million euros, according to FranceAgriMer.
  • More than 6 out of ten people in France in the 18-24 age bracket eat plant-based products several times a week, according to lDanone
  • Many dairy groups, including Triballat, Nestlé and Bel, have chosen to develop plant-based ranges.
  • Retail chains are present under their own brands (MDD).
Nestlé sells its Natur baby food products to FNB - 06/02/2024
  • nestlé is the world's leading food company.
  • FNB is a French investment fund specialized in SMEs in the food sector.
  • Nestlé is in exclusive negotiations with FNB for the sale of its baby food business in France.
  • The products concerned are NaturNes baby foods, Babicao and Babivanille baby powders and the P'tit yogurt range.
  • These products are manufactured at the Arches plant.
  • Worldwide sales of Nestlé infant formulas have increased by more than 10%.
Nestlé France sells its baby food products to Mousline - 02/02/2024
  • Nestlé is negotiating exclusively with the French investment fund FnB the sale of its baby food business.
  • These include the ranges of soups, purees, desserts and breakfast powders under the NaturNes, Babicao and Babivanille brands, as well as the P'tit franchise.
  • Infant milks, the bulk of the portfolio - with Laboratoires Guigoz and Nestlé Nidal - remain in the Nestlé France fold.
  • The infant nutrition products that are the subject of this sale are produced in a factory in the Vosges region of France that employs 230 people.
  • FnB, the potential buyer, specializes in supporting French SMEs in the food industry.
  • The baby food market fell by 6% in volume last year in France due to the falling birth rate, with a sharper decline in milks than in diversification foods.
  • Nestlé has 14 factories in France.
Danone finds buyers for its two organic brands in the United States - 02/01/2024
  • Platinum Equity's portfolio of assets totals $47 billion.
  • The two brands Horizon Organic and Wallaby accounted for around 3% of Danone's sales in 2022, or $800 million.
  • Dairy products make up a large part of Danone's sales.
  • Danone has sold various parts of its business in different countries, including yoghurts in China and fresh dairy products in Brazil.
  • Danone recorded eight quarters of growth thanks to price increases, although volumes remained stable.
  • Danone succeeded in halting a steady decline in dairy sales that had lasted since 2015.
Danone sells its US organic dairy business to Platinum Equity - 02/01/2024
  • Danone has signed an agreement to sell its US organic dairy business to Platinum Equity.
  • The sale concerns the Horizon Organic and Wallaby businesses.
  • By 2022, Horizon Organic and Wallaby represented around 3% of Danone's total sales.
Danone, Antoine de Saint-Affrique's silent revolution - 26/09/2023
  • Investment of 50 million euros in medical nutrition plant in Opole, Poland.
  • Danone sales of 27.7 billion euros.
  • Sales growth from 2.5% to 3% on average per year (before Covid) to 7% to 8% by mid-2023.
  • Groupe Danone employs around 100,000 people.
  • Disposal of certain non-strategic activities (Vega, Horizon Organic and Wallaby in North America, Aqua d'Or waters in Denmark, etc.).

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Danone Groupe
Nestlé Groupe
Vanille Labelle Odhoris
Le Comptoir Colonial
Naturex (Givaudan)
Vanille de Madagascar
CPVD Foulon
Laline Saveurs

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