Photo: S-cphoto / Getty

Few spices are as beloved as cinnamon, which pairs as well with wine and pastry as it does a juicy pork tenderloin. There’s one problem, though: that stuff is pricy, specifically the cinnamon stick. To find out why, The Outline’s Kelly Conaboy did some investigating, and her findings are both illuminating and confounding.

“The cost per ounce of the cinnamon stick compared with the cost per ounce of the ground cinnamon is outrageous,” she writes, and it takes a number of phone calls and emails to customer service and marketing professionals at cinnamon purveyors like McCormick and Frontier Natural Products Co-op (the company that houses Simply Organic cinnamon) to get an answer as to why.

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Here’s what she discovers:

Essentially the answer is twofold, or threefold if you take into account grocery store pricing, over which McCormick technically has no power, a fact of which the company will be glad to remind you. The cinnamon stick has to be extracted in one piece, making it a little more fragile and harder to harvest. Also, there is less demand for cinnamon sticks than there is for ground cinnamon. (Perhaps part of the decreased demand comes from the fact that they are outrageously expensive. I did not say this to my new helpful friend, but I did think it.) Because of these factors, cinnamon sticks have to be sold at a higher price in order to make selling cinnamon sticks profitable. Allegedly.

What’s perhaps even more engaging about the article is the confusion Conaboy uncovers regarding where the cinnamon is harvested. “Fake news, even in the world of cinnamon?” she asks after receiving conflicting information from her sources, realizing that she may be on the cusp of a worldwide cinnamon conspiracy. The evidence is compelling.

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