Tapping into the growing trend towards premium, natural vanillas, Frontier Natural Products Co-op has launched three new vanillas ideal for bakery.
The new line from Norway, Iowa-based company, offers a product from each of the three leading vanilla-producing regions - Uganda, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia - in much the same way that coffee, chocolate and other products have sought differentiation through focusing on their origins.
"Our sourcing experts searched the globe for these extraordinary vanillas," said Brett Karminski, Frontier's seasonings brand manager.
Each new vanilla is available as both an extract and whole beans, and will reflect the distinctive climate and growing conditions in each region that influence the final flavor.
According to the company, the organic Ugandan vanilla has a sweet, smooth and subtle flavor that makes it an exotic substitute for the more widely used Bourbon vanilla.
The vanilla from Papua New Guinea, meanwhile, is extra sweet and features floral notes, making it perfect for desserts and sauces, according to the company, while the Indonesian vanilla is said to be best suited for products that are cooked at high temperatures, because of the way the vanilla beans are cured.
"It partners well with chocolate and other rich ingredients - an ideal vanilla for baking," the company said.
Frontier offers a full line of natural and organic products under the Frontier, Simply Organic, Aura Cacia and Aura Cacia Organics brands. As well as the vanilla flavors, it produces culinary herbs, spices and baking flavors, bulk herbs and spices and natural and organic aromatherapy products.
The launch of the gourmet vanilla flavors reflects a growing trend towards premium, natural vanillas in the US after several years of shifting to synthetic flavorings following the 2003 vanilla shortage which caused prices rise to as much as $500/kilo.
In 2006, for example, Danish firm Danisco and US flavor firm David Michael both launched certified fair trade vanillas onto the US market.
The vanillas in Frontier's range also reflect the change in the supply market caused by the 2003 hurricane-related shortage, which primarily affected Madagascar, the world's biggest supplier of vanilla with around 70% of the global market.
New vanilla-producing regions in Africa and Latin America began to enter the market to capitalise on the decline in production in Madagascar - and many have managed to retain a niche for themselves despite an upturn in Madagascan sales following a bumper harvest in 2004.