Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in the world, especially in desserts. If you’re looking to buy some beans, you might be wondering where to start.
Vanilla bean suppliers come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be difficult for customers to do their research and determine which ones provide the best quality, services, and price.
This short guide will help you out and present five key things to consider when looking for vanilla bean suppliers. But if you want to get right to it, check out Vanilla Bean Kings’ selection and place your order today!
Where Can You Buy Vanilla Beans?
Most of the vanilla extracts and flavors you find on the market are produced synthetically. Only around 1% of vanillin (the molecule that provides the flavor) comes from actual vanilla pods.
While there’s nothing wrong with using synthetic flavorings, some people may prefer to go for the real deal. If that’s you, vanilla beans are available in the following:
- Specialty food stores: These are the types of stores that regularly carry items with lower distribution, including vanilla beans and other unique spices. They’re a convenient supplier if you have one in your area. Unfortunately, specialty stores often have higher price tags on their products and don’t carry a large variety of beans.
- Grocery stores: Some grocery stores may carry vanilla beans in addition to synthetic extracts. Like with specialty stores, the selection is often limited, so you might only find 2-3 products available, depending on the size of the store.
- Online retailers: Shopping for vanilla beans online provides the best chances of finding high-quality products at great rates since you’re no longer limited by location. But navigating the online market is tricky, and consumers must do their research to verify if the online store is legitimate.
- Vanilla farmers: Vanilla needs a hot and moist climate. In the US, it’s grown in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Hawaii since the 1900s, and other states have also joined the ranks since then. If you live in one of these areas, you may find vanilla beans at your local farmer’s market and purchase them directly from the people who grow them.
5 Tips to Choose the Right Vanilla Bean Suppliers
Around 35% of vanilla exports worldwide come to the US.
Whether it’s restaurants needing this spice to make their delicious desserts, alcohol manufacturers looking to add an extra kick to their drinks, or even regular consumers stocking up, this country can’t get enough of vanilla beans.
To find the right vanilla bean suppliers, consider these five tips:
1. Choose the Type of Vanilla Bean You Want
Vanilla Beans are imported from different countries, and their origin can influence the flavor profile. Here are some of the most popular countries you can get vanilla beans from:
- Mexico: Has a thicker bean and a mellow taste
- Indonesia: Offers the most affordable beans, thanks to production improvements in the country
- Madagascar: The most common vanilla bean, with a rich aroma and creamy flavor
- Uganda: Provides a stronger taste thanks to its higher concentration of vanillin
Most of the vanilla beans you’ll find come from Madagascar, the world’s top supplier. Online retailers and specialty stores may provide more variety.
2. Do a Quick Google Search
See your vanilla bean supplier options by doing a quick online search. It will reveal any local stores that carry beans, and you can look around the shops to find the products that suit your needs best.
Online searches will also point you toward online suppliers. You can check out all their offers, types of beans, and bundles and decide which provides the best deals for you.
Shopping for vanilla beans online and in-store has its benefits. If you need your beans right away, then a specialty or grocery store is the fastest way to get them. But if you can wait a few days for shipping, online stores offer a lot more variety.
3. Check Online Reviews
Whether you’re shopping from online stores or local ones, you should look at feedback from other people.
Check online reviews from previous vanilla bean buyers and look for specific information, such as:
- The quality of the product (taste, potency, etc.)
- The package (whether it’s air-sealed, recyclable, etc.)
- How the vanilla bean supplier handles customer disputes
- Shipping timeline
No supplier will have only 5-star reviews. Some people’s experiences will inevitably not go according to plan, no matter how hard the supplier tries to accommodate them.
But online reviews help you get a better sense of what it’s like to shop at a store, so you know what to expect.
4. Consider Your Budget
Vanilla beans or similar products don’t have to cost a fortune. Many suppliers offer discounts for first-time shoppers, and you can save more if you buy in bulk.
If you do purchase more to save money, be sure to learn how to properly store the vanilla beans so they stay fresh for longer. With some preparation, you can keep the beans fresh for around six months or even two years.
5. Look for Special Deals
Consider the type of vanilla bean consumer you are. If you only need a one-time batch, you have lots of accessible options out there, including at a grocery store.
But if you need higher quantities, it’s worth looking for suppliers that offer extra incentives, such as:
- Discounts and sales
- Free shipping
- Points program
- Monthly subscriptions
- Wholesale options
- Testing bundles, etc.
These perks make buying vanilla beans more accessible to everyone, especially those with low budgets but higher quantity needs.
There’s no shortage of vanilla bean suppliers, especially in the country that imports the highest quantity of this spice.
Finding the right supplier to suit your needs isn’t impossible, but it does take some effort. Use the five tips in this guide, and you’ll tap into a great vanilla bean supply, no matter your needs.
Ready to shop for vanilla products? Check out Vanilla Bean Kings’ online catalog now!