Vanilla price spike affecting CT businesses - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Vanilla price spike affecting CT businesses

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Rising vanilla prices are affecting Connecticut businesses. (WFSB photo) Rising vanilla prices are affecting Connecticut businesses. (WFSB photo)
NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

There’s a spike in vanilla prices and it’s affecting stores in Connecticut that sell baked goods or ice cream.   

Local small business owners explain the dilemma just weeks until summer.

They've been scooping up homemade ice cream in Connecticut for more than a century at Mortensen's Ice Cream Shoppe. It's all about all natural ingredients and no artificial flavors at Mortensen's in Newington.

"If you own a business you try and do the best job you can and after being in the dairy business for 102 years, we don't cut corners,” Mortensen's Ice Cream Owner Rod Mortensen said.

But, certain flavors are now costing them a pretty penny to make. It's all because of the astronomical increase in the price of vanilla.

This gallon of double strength vanilla extract used to cost Mortensen's $75. It's now a whopping $335.

Owners said recent storms in Madagascar coupled with the fact it's one of the more labor intensive crops to harvest are to blame for the price spike.

"You can't grow vanilla in your garden in Connecticut or just about anywhere,” Mortensen said. “It can only be grown within 20 degrees of the equator."

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like vanilla prices are going down anytime soon.

"The prognosis for it to get any better is almost nil because there was another cyclone I believe in March that destroyed even more plants,” Mortensen said.

In September, Penzey's spices sent an email to customers letting them known they were increasing their vanilla prices from about $60 to $80 for 16 ounces.

While Mortensen's has vowed to not cheapen their product with artificial vanilla,  they are considering an increase in price.

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