From the much-exaggerated wings crisis of 2015, to the pretty real #CarnitasGate catastrophe of 2015, food shortages are constantly in the news—sometimes for good reason, and sometimes just to drum up fear of a bacon-free existence.
The latest foodstuff in peril is vanilla ice cream—at least the high-end kind that uses real Madagascar vanilla beans. Bloomberg reports that Madagascar’s vanilla shortage are affecting world prices.
As the Guardian notes, a poor vanilla harvest in Madagascar has resulted a 150% price increase—a price hike that ice-cream makers might pass on to consumers. The strained demand has not only made the vanilla more expensive, but also prompted some harvesters to collect the beans prematurely, resulting in a lower-quality product.
Consumers love their high-grade vanilla, but Josephine Lochhead, president of Cook Flavoring, tells Bloomberg: “There’s a limit to what people will pay for natural vanilla and we’re nearing that point.” If the scales tip, more artificial vanilla could flood the market.
Thankfully, the future looks brighter: As Grub Street points out, the 2016 vanilla crops are “off to a good start,” but unfortunately those harvests won’t help prices until later in the year.