Shopping for pure vanilla extract can cost you a pretty penny, depending on the brand. Prices can vary from $12.00-$25.00 for a 4 fl. oz. bottle!
Producing vanilla is very labor and time intensive. Most of the vanilla used to make vanilla extract is grown in Madagascar. A cyclone hit that region a year or so ago which destroyed many vanilla fields and facilities. Therefore, the supply is reduced and it takes time to get the fields of orchids growing again.
Learn more about the 2017 vanilla crop at http://bit.ly/2nYD0qD.
Imitation vanilla extract is an economical option for many baked goods. For non-baked goods or products needing low heat treatment, pure vanilla extract is best for optimum vanilla flavor.