Tahitian vanilla production to triple in three years
In great news for lovers of arguably the finest flavour, French Polynesia wants to increase the production of its vanilla by 2020.
The objective of the Minister of Primary Resource Development, Tearii Alpha, is to produce 60 tonnes of ripe vanilla in 3 years. To date the production is 20 tons of mature vanilla, with marketing of 11 tonnes of prepared vanilla marketed internationally last year.
Tahitian vanilla is considered to be premium quality, which is a plus for the Islands when compared to the strong competition of vanilla from Papua New Guinea or Indonesia.
To reach the projected volumes, a quality approach is underway and by 2019, vanilla from Tahiti will benefit from the AOP label. (AOP stands for the Appellation d’Origine Protegee, the Protected Mark of Origin. In English, this is the Protected Designation of Origin – the PDO.) This approach aims to protect the Tahitian vanilla produced in French Polynesia, and also to guarantee its quality on the world market.
During meetings at the Delegation of French Polynesia in Paris between two major importers and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Primary Resource Development, and the Director of the public establishment Vanille de Tahiti, two distinct market niches were mentioned – gourmet vanilla and industrial vanilla.
The first niche of gourmet vanilla is to provide a vanilla of exceptional quality for gastronomy, and with it comes a large demand estimated at more than 20 tonnes. In turn, it is anticipated that the industrial vanilla could increase production on a very large scale.
The main consumers of vanilla in Australia are consumers (household bakers) and the food service sector, where demand for vanilla is often influenced by quality. What was once considered a niche is rapidly becoming a mainstream market in Australia, with growth of vanilla offering in supermarkets one of the most noticeable. This is partly attributed to the growing popularity of baking TV shows, which are influencing consumers to become more educated about the product. In addition the increasing preference for natural as opposed to synthetic vanilla in gourmet quality products is also having an impact.