116 It can be annoying to go to the shops and discover that a product that regularly features on your shopping list has suddenly become more expensive There are as many possible reasons for a price increase as there are links in the supply chain Not to mention the fact that the price of a food product has to cover the services of more than just the producer and the shop see p 63 And raw materials also have their price Price fluctuations on the agricultural raw materi als market are a normal part of business Nature only somewhat adheres to a production plan Our long term partnerships mean that price changes usually don t come as a surprise to us we are informed as early as possible In general we don t immediately pass fluctuations onto retailers as they balance out in the long term But sometimes there are price changes that we cannot afford to keep carrying in the long term This was recently the case with Bourbon vanilla Vanilla is not only one of the most expensive spices in the world its price is also subject to extreme fluctuations Since we added Bourbon vanilla to our product range in 1998 its price on the raw materials market has ris en from ten euros per kilo to more than 500 euros per kilo And organic vanilla costs even more The price that we paid for Bourbon vanilla was more than 40 times high er in 2018 than in 1998 The reason for the volatility of the vanilla market lies in the nature of the plant The orchid that genuine Bourbon vanilla comes from originated in Mexico Today it is also cultivated in the Comoros and Réunion as well as in the case of our Bourbon vanil la Madagascar These regions howev er lack the specific species of bee that naturally pollenates vanilla blossoms So that is done by hand instead This has an advantage Each vanilla farmer can plan exactly how many pods will grow on each plant The quality suffers if there are too many pods per plant And a disadvantage Each vanilla farmer must plan exactly how many pods will grow on each plant Planning is done almost one year in advance however be cause after pollination it takes around nine months before the ripe pods can be harvested The har vest date is fixed by the government of Madagascar which is concerned with protecting the good quality reputation of Bourbon vanilla If vanilla is harvest ed too early it affects the taste Immediately following the harvest the equally laborious processing begins The pods are sweated in wooden box es and then laid out to dry in the sun at regular intervals which increases the Vanilla A valuable commodity 5 Quality has roots

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