BLACKPOOL tourists might be paying over the odds for a 99 this summer as prices for vanilla ice cream look set to soar.
A shortage of vanilla pods is being blamed for the cornet crisis.
But Fylde ice cream sellers hope to have the problem licked – and say they are not panicking just yet.
Mike Vettese, of Notrianni’s on Waterloo Road, South Shore, famed for its old-fashioned Italian-style vanilla ice cream, says he will not be stocking up yet.
He said: “We make a traditional ice cream, so if the price goes up it will affect us greatly. I will hopefully be getting some more vanilla, but if you panic buy it sometimes makes things worse
“Hopefully we won’t have to raise costs.”
Martin Molloy, owner of Bond’s ice cream producers in Elswick, said they would be keeping an eye on the situation but hoped not to have to increase prices.
He said: “Our prices have been set for this year and we should be able to absorb some increase in raw material costs.
“But vanilla accounts for the largest percentage of sales. We will have to monitor it closely but we really don’t envisage having to raise prices this year.”
Elaine Silverwood, of Silverdell in Poulton Street, Kirkham, said they would try to absorb any rise.
She said: “You can’t stock up with vanilla, because with vanilla if you are making your ice cream properly everything has to be fresh.
“Sugar prices have risen hugely so we’ve already absorbed those price increases, but we don’t pass them on to our customers.”
The shortage is due to poor crops in Mexico and India.
Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices because of its time-consuming production, and the crop failures now mean Madagascar – the third major growing area – has a virtual monopoly.
Trade journal The Grocer said: “Buyers are right to be nervous.
“The vanilla markets does not tend to move often but when it does, price spikes can be extreme.”