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There’s a Madagascar Vanilla Shortage Threatening Your Ice Cream

The country had a poor harvest.

(Photo: Elsie Hui/CC BY 2.0)

The average American consumes around 22 pounds of ice cream a year, which is probably too much, though there may soon be another reason to cut back. 

Madagascar, the world’s biggest source of food-grade vanilla, said that they had a poor harvest this year, according to The Guardian, and the 600 to 700-ton shortage could be coming for your wallet in the form of higher ice cream prices. 

There are other sources of vanilla, in Mexico and Tahiti, but Madagascan vanilla is notable for its taste, and ends up in most ice cream produced in the world. 

Yet prices have been surging, and ice cream makers are beginning to fret. 

“We were paying €35 a litre in February but now it’s €76,” Charlie Thuillier, the founder of boutique British ice cream maker Oppo, told The Guardian.

Another ice cream maker told the newspaper that prices have generally been on the rise for years, though not so steeply as in 2016, which means that for now, maybe it’s best to stock up. Around 22 pounds will probably do it.