Synergy vanilla deal guarantees steady supply

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Organic food Synergy

Synergy's authorisation to import whole organic vanilla pods
directly from Madagascar should help guarantee supplies and achieve
a degree of price stability.

The permit, given by the British government and supported by the Soil Association, allows the international flavours specialist to guarantee field gate traceability to customers and offers them increased continuity of supply and quality.

Synergy also believes that customers will benefit as growing interest in provenance is beginning to affect purchase decisions.

Vanilla is one of Synergy's major product lines and the company has provided Soil Association-approved organic vanilla extracts for over five years, in additional to suitable for organic vanilla flavours. UK organic food sales topped £1.2 billion in 2005 and the global market has been estimated at £17.5 billion.

But during the last decade, vanilla prices have soared from about $20 a kilo to record prices of up to $300 during 2003's vanilla scarcity. A devastating cyclone in 2000 and the 2002 political crisis in Madagascar, the world's biggest grower supplying 50 per cent of the world market, heavily influenced this boom in vanilla prices.

Last year prices fell on the back of a bumper vanilla bean harvest in Madagascar, that trebled production from 500 metric tons in 2003 to around 1500 MT in 2004. But the food industry remains anxious that supplies can be sustained within reasonable price brackets.

Synergy believes that the authorisation will enable the company to assuage these fears. It argues that the development underscores the company's commitment to supplying high quality organic products to an international customer base, using ingredients sourced from reputable growers.

"Synergy is delighted to have obtained this crucial import authorisation, which benefits our customers, consumers and the growers themselves,"​ said Andrew O'Mahony, Synergy marketing manager.

"Organic foods are a large and growing market for our flavours and we're responding to customer needs by offering much improved traceability and provenance for the world's favourite sweet flavouring."

The EU regulation recognises that it is not yet possible to make products entirely from organic ingredients. As a result the manufacturer can use up to 5 per cent of certain non-organic food ingredients and still label the product as organic.

However, genetically modified ingredients and artificial food additives are never allowed in organic foods.

Food manufacturers continue to enjoy strong demand for their organic food products. Annual retail sales of organic foodstuffs have soared tenfold to top €1.51 billion in UK alone in the past decade.

Synergy's first consignment of organic vanilla pods has been received this month. The company anticipates importing around 1.5 tonnes from Madagascar per year. Synergy is the new name for Carbery's flavours and savoury ingredients business. It was formed in October 2005 by the joining of Synergy Flavours, US Flavors & Fragrances, Customblend Ingredients and Carbery Savoury Food Ingredients.

The company offers sweet and savoury flavours and savoury ingredients, including a world-leading range of natural, nature-identical (NI), organic and suitable for organic flavours. Synergy has production, R&D and technical facilities in Europe and the USA.

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