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Local ice cream shop feeling high price of vanilla: 'You have to weather the storm'

The high price of vanilla is due to the shortage in Madagascar, the island country that's home to more than three-quarters of the world's vanilla fields.

Posted: Jul 16, 2018 11:22 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Vanilla is used to flavor many foods and drinks, but you may recently have noticed the high price of the flavor.

That's due to the shortage in Madagascar, the island country that's home to more than three-quarters of the world's vanilla fields.

It goes past the grocery story aisles. Local ice cream shops, like Flapdoodles, are especially feeling the crunch. However, the rising cost of vanilla isn't necessarily a new problem for them.

Matt Tierney owns Flapdoodles and tells KIMT the price he pays for a gallon of vanilla has gone from $80 in 2011, to $600 as of last summer.

"You have to weather the storm," Tierney said. "It's something that's essential for good ice cream."

The shortage is caused by a series of natural disasters that took out many of the vanilla plants in Madagascar.

Tierney thinks it's getting better. The last time he made an order, the price was down about $10-15. Even though it's not a lot, he sees a downward trend.

He said he hasn't had to raise his prices because of it yet, but if it doesn't go down it may come to that point.

"Whether you're, ya know do burgers and beef goes up or pork," Tierney said, "you can weather the storm a little bit but eventually you do have to pass it on to the customers."

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