Here is a great article that explains why pure vanilla is so expensive. This was published by NPR.
“As we reported last week, many people have called vanilla one of the most labor-intensive food products the world over. If you’re talking about the real stuff (as opposed to the artificial stuff), most of it comes from Madagascar, but also Tahiti, Mexico and Indonesia.
Like saffron, the cost of that labor is reflected in the price for the beans — about $10 for a small jar of two or three beans. Vanillas beans are actually the fruit of an orchid, and that orchid flowers only once a year, and has to be hand-pollinated.
As former Peace Corps volunteer-turned-entrepreneur Tim McCollum of the chocolate and vanilla company Madecass told our sister blog Goats and Soda, “Farmers use a stick with a small, pointy end, extract something and put it together to pollinate. It’s only in bloom a very short time.”
After it’s harvested, the bean has to be cooked, sweated, dried and cured. The entire process from pollination to processed bean can take up to a year and a half.”
Bella’s uses only pure Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract in all of their desserts.