On pricing Aerogel, Saffron & Truffles

Inventables calls themselves “the innovator’s hardware store.” They sell materials for developing new products and “pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.”

And looking around, I head straight to the Aerogel. Surely they have it. It’s totally space-age–NASA uses it after all, plus it makes for compelling demos. And since it’s generally considered an expensive material, it can only be cheaper online right?

Inventables has something they call “Flexible Aerogel Fabric” but unfortunately they’re out of stock. But they do tell us it’s only $3-$10 per square foot. Not bad at all.

For the real stuff, you have to visit the aptly named United Nuclear Scientific Supplies. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see 5 gallons of Aerogel granules for $300.00 USD. That’s more like it; quite a suitable price for something NASA uses.

I love specialized stores like Inventables and United Nuclear. And another favorite for the list is LeSanctuaire, which provides “only the rarest choice ingredients” to “fine dining restaurants and professional chefs.” That got me thinking, how do the traditional “expensive” ingredients used in cooking compare?

  • Aerogel
    16 oz $300 (1 oz $18.75)

  • Vanilla Beans
    8.8 oz $110 (1 oz 12.50)

  • Truffles
    8.8 oz $135 (1 oz $15.34)

  • Saffron
    1 oz $190

(All of the ingredient pricing was pulled from LeSanctuaire’s site.)

Saffron wins this round.

This entry was posted in food, site. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Posted January 15, 2011 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    I you’re looking to buy pieces, not granules, of aerogel, the best place to check out is http://www.buyaerogel.com. They have the widest range of the stuff in stock, and they also carry the blanket and granule form factors.

  2. Posted January 16, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Hey thanks for tip.

    Like this bit from their About Us page: “Unlike other companies that have offered monolithic aerogels for sale in the past, we manufacture autofacture our own aerogels. With robots. No joke. Robots that make aerogels. How ’bout that, NASA? Can you do that?”