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Rémi Pulverail

Vanilla Madagascar - crisis recovery... or not yet?

Following the interesting November report from Aust & Hachmann (Vanilla Market Update - November 2018), we would like to emphasize a few points which - to our opinion- are quite questionable.

The report is very optimistic, and we all hope that the unusual crisis on the vanilla market comes to an end as the current situation does not benefit anyone. However, some more pessimistic elements (unfortunately) should also be considered to make up one’s mind:

The growing demand for green beans at the early stage of the crop is fuelling the crisis and major users need to be aware of that. This year in July hundreds of tons of green beans have been purchased by major fragrance and flavour (F&F) houses (most of the time at crazy prices) to locally produce what one’s calls ’quick processed beans’. The process starting from green beans basically consists in cutting and heating beans on ovens to increase its vanillin content. This grade is convenient for the industry as it is a cheap and fast process (compared to the 5/6 long months of the traditional curing process...). The drawbacks of this fast-growing market is that farmers will get far less revenues when they sell green beans rather than cured beans... and will therefore do their utmost to keep prices very high to compensate their loss. In addition, the very high market price for green beans in July has been a benchmark for all the players. Last but not least, on the long run one must take into account that farmers shall lose their expertise to cure the beans (traditional know-how) which is a serious issue from a sustainability and ethics standpoint.

The ’vrac’ market which starts around october (cured beans sold by farmers to exporters) has suffered from this green beans market trend: farmers being reluctant to significantly reduce prices.

So far, the other traditional producing countries (despite historical high prices) are not credible alternate sources - in terms of volume and even quality - to Madagascar: the industry is still highly dependent on this ’risky’ country, which is not a good news. Once shall ask why F&F houses have not more successfully rolled out their ’sustainable’ sourcing projects elsewhere to diversify their risks... especially at this very high market price?

The flowering at this stage is more than poor both in the SAVA [1] region and in the other producing areas like Mananara (next kingdom of Vanilla according to ’connoisseurs’), which is a major threat for the next crop.

Buyers are more than ever buying from hand to mouth and less and less accept to pre-finance their suppliers, which is a key issue at all supply chain levels.

Restoring some visibility for the local players (at least in terms of contracted volume) is one of the key criteria which shall bring some relief on the market. By the way, this is a key sustainability topic, even if apparently not relevant according to the SVI group...

Let’s not forget the presidential elections which are not yet over, and which remain a big question mark. Going forward...and the potential climatic issues ahead?

Jan to March is the yearly period when cyclones and heavy rains come from the east. This shall at worse be bad news (deteriorate the current situation), at best news (for sure not improve the situation).

What is sure for the time being: the quality of the ex 2018 crop is very good, which did not happen for a while!

These are factors once needs to balance.

Rémi Pulvérail


[1SAVA is one of regions of Madagascar which gathers four disctrics: Sambava, Antalaha, Vohemar and Andapa

© 2018 - Brazil Beauty News -

about Rémi Pulverail

Trained in the Charabot perfumery school in Grasse, he has more than 20 years of experience in the perfumes industry, working for the major fragrance houses, and always closely and passionately in contact with the producers of the finest olfactory natural raw materials of the world.

He led for more than 10 years the Global Purchasing Team ‘Naturals’ at Givaudan where he was both driving the natural ingredients sourcing activities, but also implementing specific projects to secure sensitive supply chains and establish ethical sourcing programs that he pioneered. Ingredients innovation was also a key part of the job to make sure the exclusive partnerships established would provide novel extracts to the fine fragrance perfumers.

Remi is today an entrepreneur: he has started his own company, L’Atelier Français des Matières, proposing an alternative model in perfumery which focuses on the Haute Parfumerie segment.


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