FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 19, 2023 – Heilala Vanilla announced their expansion into the U.S. today, with several award-winning vanilla products available at a growing number of retailers. Heilala’s vanilla products can now be found at all Sprouts Farmers Markets and Harmons Grocery stores, in addition to Good Earth Markets, Bristol Farms and Erewhon. Heilala also just launched at Pop Up Grocer, Manhattan’s in-the-know specialty grocer that features a rotation of emerging brands.
Heilala’s 100% pure vanilla products have grown to be a favorite of chefs and home cooks alike, beloved for the pure vanilla flavor and their commitment to the environment and social impact. The female-led producer cultivates vanilla in the Kingdom of Tonga, with a portion of every sale going to their foundation to empower Tongan families and rural communities. The past year, Heilala achieved the distinction of being the world's first B Corp certified vanilla producer.
Home bakers can easily find or order Heilala in the U.S. at several retailers; the brand also ships directly to consumers on heilalavanilla.com and is available on Amazon and Thrive Market. Their many products include:
- Pure Vanilla Extract – Heilala’s unique three-month cold-extraction process delicately preserves the aromatics of hand-selected premium beans, available in an alcohol-free variant as well.
- Vanilla Bean Paste – An intensely flavored paste infused with rich vanilla seeds, ideal for adding depth to any dish. Also available in an alcohol free variant.
- Vanilla Sugar – Premium organic golden sugar is infused with Heilala Vanilla Extract and combined with finely ground vanilla beans to intensify the delightful vanilla flavor.
- Vanilla with Seeds – A sweet vanilla flavor, golden and flowing that is flecked with vanilla bean seeds.
- Favorite Dessert Flavors Vanilla Extract Trio – Apple Pie, Butterscotch and Gingerbread Vanilla Extracts turn up the flavor in any favorite recipe.
- Flavored Wellness Vanilla Extracts – All-new vanilla extracts with a punch of flavor: Lemon & Ginger, Blackcurrant & Honey, Apple & Cinnamon, which also feature immune-boosting properties of Eldermune, a derivative of Elderberry.
Heilala’s story started in 2002 following a hurricane that struck Tonga, a group of islands in the South Pacific. John Ross, a New Zealand dairy farmer who had visited and befriended many on the island, was gifted a plot of land in exchange for providing employment opportunities on the island. Despite Tonga not being a significant exporter of goods, John discovered that vanilla was historically cultivated on the islands, and set out to master the art and science of vanilla cultivation. Following a three-year process involving planting, nurturing, and harvesting the first orchid plants, his daughter Jennifer Boggiss introduced the vanilla to chefs in New Zealand. The chefs were captivated by both the vanilla and its compelling story, and so Heilala was born, named after the national flower of Tonga.
As Heilala's CEO, Jennifer began to build a company led by women, emphasizing the empowerment of women in Tonga. The goal was to provide them with opportunities to blossom into strategic roles within the company, thus having a positive effect on their families and the local economy.
With the expansion of Heilala's production, Jennifer soon introduced their products to chefs in the U.S., and Heilala has become the go-to vanilla at Eleven Madison Park, The Modern, Gramercy Tavern, The Grill, The Pool and numerous other restaurants spanning coast to coast. Ice cream artisans have also embraced their vanilla; it’s used by Hallie Meyer at Caffè Panna in New York City, where she recently created a unique collaborative flavor using Heilala's apple pie vanilla extract.
Jennifer and her team love to take vanilla beyond baking, and they provide inspiration to enjoy their unique products, including in cocktails, smoothies, coffee, tea, and various entrees, in addition to traditional baked goods. With a commitment to using 100% pure vanilla without artificial colors, flavors, or fillers, home cooks can savor Heilala's distinctive flavor and aroma, setting it apart from commonly found options on supermarket shelves. Purchasing Heilala products also means supporting a sustainable and equitable origin.
The Heilala Vanilla Foundation, supported by a portion of each sale, funds agricultural and educational initiatives, ranging from providing seeds to school supplies to emergency relief shipments. A significant aspect of Heilala's mission is to foster inter-generational self-sufficiency in the Kingdom of Tonga. Heilala ensures the highest quality and fair pricing for its farmer partners, who meticulously hand-pollinate each flower and harvest each pod by hand.
Heilala Vanilla, founded in 2002 as an aid project by New Zealander John Ross and his family in the Kingdom of Tonga, is the world's first B Corp certified vanilla producer. It has gained popularity among Michelin-starred chefs and home cooks globally. Heilala is renowned for its authentic and pure vanilla beans, paste, extracts, sugar, and more, capable of enhancing any dish or beverage. The company established the Heilala Vanilla Foundation to formalize its commitment to social impact in Tonga. Through the foundation's efforts, Heilala supports hundreds of vanilla farming families.
To learn more, visit heilalavanilla.com and follow along at @heilalavanilla. Click here to view product photos.