Vanilla costs have hit record highs
Vanilla costs have hit record highs in the last two years and it’s beginning to impact the ice cream industry in Britain.
At approximately $600 (£443) per kilo, the in-demand ingredient now costs more than silver.
While the rise in price may not necessarily impact major retailers and brands - some smaller businesses are struggling to keep up.
One of these is artisanal ice cream maker Ruby Violet, which has been forced to stop selling its vanilla flavour due to the surge in costs.
Speaking to the BBC, founder Julie Fisher explained that her London-based outlets have taken vanilla off the menu “for the foreseeable future”.
Another UK-based business reconsidering its vanilla options is the family-run company, Snugburys Ice Cream.
Based in Nantwich, Cheshire, the farmhouse ice cream outlet produces 40 different flavours, a third of which contain vanilla.
They are now paying 30 times more for the ingredient than they have done in the past.
"It has really gone up, so last year we decided to buy it forward by a year's-worth," said Cleo Sadler, who runs the company with her two sisters.
"We had to make a decision as to whether we would absorb the costs - which we did in the end," she told the BBC.
It’s something they don’t want to have to compromise on in the future, regardless of the costs, given that their company uses all-natural ingredients and therefore using an artificial vanilla flavouring would go against their values.
Vanilla prices have surged since March 2017 when a cyclone hit Madagascar - where the bulk of the flavouring is produced - and subsequently destroyed a number of vanilla plantations.
This led to poor harvests and reduced production rates by 30 per cent, causing the subsequent inflation and prompting fears of a shortage.
If this happens, it’s undoubtedly going to hit Brits pretty hard, considering that vanilla has been the most popular ice cream flavour in the UK for decades, according to the Ice Cream Alliance.