‘Vanilla price hike’ won’t affect Morelli’s

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Fears over a potential summer price increase in vanilla ice cream have been allayed by Northern Ireland’s leading ice cream brand.

Responding to reports that a poor yield of vanilla pods from Madagascar could lead to a global increase in the price of ice cream, Morelli’s has moved to assure ice cream fans that the cost of their favourite treats won’t be rising this summer.

Arnaldo Morelli, who heads up the family-owned Coleraine business, told the Coleraine Times this week: “We’ve seen reports about the potential increase in the price of vanilla pods but I can assure ice creams fans across Northern Ireland that Morelli’s vanilla ice cream will not be affected.

“We have our cows to thank for this - the quality of our milk and double cream is so good that we don’t have to rely on intense vanilla flavours to give our ice cream a unique taste. Vanilla complements the ingredients as opposed to overpowering them and we’re looking forward to continuing to make delicious ice cream at the same great price during the summer.”

The price of Madagascan vanilla surged by nearly 150% last year after the island, the dominant producer, experienced a poor harvest. Now food industry executives are reporting a fresh rise in prices as supply tightens.

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world, after saffron, a result of its long and labour-intensive cultivation. Part of the orchid family, vanilla beans are hand-pollinated on family farms. Each flower opens for only one part of one day during the season – if it is not pollinated on that day, no pod is produced.

Once picked, the curing process, which involves drying the beans in the sun by day and allowing them to sweat in a box at night, takes three to six months. The main producers of black vanilla are Madagascar, followed by Mexico and Tahiti.