We all scream for ice cream is about to get real. Following a poor harvest, the price of vanilla beans has climbed almost 150 percent, and it’s threatening to push up the cost of ice cream just in time for summer.
“It’s a big deal. I got a letter from our vanilla supplier and nearly fell out of my chair—the cost had doubled in two months,” Jennifer Dundas, owner of Brooklyn-based Blue Marble Ice Cream told The New York Post. “I may have to raise prices. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see ice cream companies raise prices across the board on scoops and pints in grocery stores.”
It all started in Madagascar. The African nation known for its creamy, sweet vanilla is the top producer of the food grade ingredient. It’s a favorite of ice cream brands like Haagen Dazs, but a shortage due in part to the bad harvest and also because some growers harvested the beans early means prices have gone up from $80 a kilogram a year ago to $250 kilogram, and most of that increase was in the past four months. Because hand-pollinating the flowers that produce the vanilla bean pod can only be pollinated one day a year, it won’t be until 2017 that prices have the chance to return to normal.
Get ready for lots of slushies and Italian ices.