Heilala Vanilla: A Passion for its People

Founded by New Zealander John Ross and his family, Heilala Vanilla’s origins began in 2002 as an aid project.

The Kingdom of Tonga had been ravaged by Cyclone Waka, leaving the Islands and its people shattered in the wake of an exceptionally vicious natural disaster. Partnering with a local family in the village of Utungake, together they established a small vanilla plantation that robustly grew into the world-renowned humanitarian vanilla brand, Heilala Vanilla.

Grown on rich, Pacific soil and dried under the Polynesian sun, the world’s best vanilla is an all-natural product of a perfect climate. With a highly scientific, unrefined process (cold-pressed, slow-extract), and the artisan work culture of the hard-working local farmers and families, Heilala Vanilla is innovating outdated Vanilla products and production.

This innovation has seen Heilala receive recommendations from chefs around the world along with glowing reviews in global publications such as Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. The brand were also finalists in this year’s Inspire+ NZ Artisan Awards with their flavoured vanilla extracts.

Heilala Vanilla Flavoured Vanilla Extracts combine pure vanilla extract with natural, bold, flavours such as berry, pumpkin spice, and coffee. The products are ideal for adding a decadent taste to fudge, granola, milkshakes, and cocktails.

Sustainability is at the heart of Heilala Vanilla’s ‘Reason Why’. Heilala Vanilla supports ‘The Tongan Way’ (Anga Fakatonga), with a working culture that is social, family-friendly and has given its people a new industry to adopt, supporting the protection of their local lifestyle.

Heilala believes that the best vanilla comes from long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust, and mutual respect. Through the Heilala Vanilla Foundation, the company is passionate about supporting 400 vanilla farming families in Tonga through partnerships that build local community opportunities.

From its distinctive flavour, its humanitarian mission and fair treatment of farmers, Heilala Vanilla makes people feel as good as the product tastes. Available in North America, Europe and Australasia, Heilala Vanilla continues to be honoured by the food industry and is a globally recognised premium food ingredient brand available directly to its customers.

For more information visit heilalavanilla.co.nz