Global vanilla shortage threatens Britain's favourite ice cream flavour

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A vanilla shortage has whipped British holidaymakers into a frenzy over fears the popular ice cream flavour may be at risk.

Poor harvests have pushed up the costs of the country’s favourite variety of ice cream after vanilla pod prices increased by as much as 500 per cent.

Madagascar produces 80 per cent of the world’s vanilla but tropical cyclone Enawo tore through the country in March earlier this year. The natural disaster killed at least 81 people and destroyed much of the nation’s vanilla crops.

Speaking to Reuters at the time, Mamy Razakarivony president of the national vanilla exporters’ group revealed that they had experienced losses of around 30 per cent.

The expert said: “High prices and poor quality vanilla: this announces a catastrophic season.”

According to reports, the UK is already feeling the effects of vanilla inflation with a west London Gelato chain among many said to be out of stock of the classic ice cream choice.

Odonno’s in Chiswick informed customers that an “unprecedented” shortage of vanilla pods meant that the tasty treat was no longer available.

As one of the world’s most expensive spices, the classic flavour is incredibly labour-intensive to produce.

Derived from orchids, the vanilla beans must be hand-pollinated before waiting months for the seeds to be fully cured.

Rising prices as a result of cyclone Enawo and “a few large middlemen keeping the stock” have caused small British retailers such as Odonno to struggle.

“We hope we can resume offering Vanilla Ice Cream as soon as the new 2017 vanilla crop becomes available,” explains the dessert chain.

In the meantime, make the most of every ‘99’ you can get your hands on.

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