Vanilla bean prices skyrocketing
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
Vanilla bean prices have soared because of a shortage.
These days ice cream makers like Mother Moo Creamery are losing money on every scoop.
Vanilla has surpassed dairy as the biggest cost.
The price paid for a gallon of organic vanilla extra has nearly quadrupled over the last five years.
Seventy-nine percent of the world's vanilla fields are in Madagascar.
A shortage there has helped drive up the cost of vanilla beans from about $11 a pound in 2011 to nearly $200 a pound at the end of 2016.
Josephine Lochhead and her husband Don run Cook Flavoring Company. Most of their business is vanilla.
She shot video in December during a trip to Madagascar to survey the vanilla crops.
Vanilla farming is a labor-intensive process.
Beans are grown on orchids. Each one is pollinated by hand.
There is good news. Recent surveys of the Madagascar harvest is looking good and should increase supplies and hopefully lower prices.