A devastating natural disaster has put summer’s favorite treat at risk: the vanilla ice cream cone. The rising costs of vanilla have been exacerbated by a cyclone that ripped through Madagascar last month, leaving the farmers who produce 80 percent of the world’s vanilla supply to pick up the pieces.
The vanilla shortage has sent wholesale prices through the roof. The owner of an ice cream scoop shop in Boston told The Boston Globe that he used to pay $72 for a bag of vanilla beans. Now he gets the same size bag for a staggering $320, almost five times the amount he paid in 2015.
One supplier of vanilla ice cream said he had to double his prices for scoop shops and grocery stores in order to keep afloat. The prices are bound to trickle down to consumers faster than melted ice cream on a hot summer day. But ice cream shops aren’t sure if that’s an option. After all, who wants to pay double for vanilla?
“I just don't think that anyone in Boston could get away with that without making people angry,” Aaron Cohen, the owner of Gracie’s Ice Cream in Somerville told The Boston Globe. “Vanilla is a euphemism for plain. They'd think it was a joke.”