Of All Things The Collapse Will Impact WTF? - Vanilla Ice Cream!!!

David Trammel's picture

Sad story, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home this morning, and on a whim, picked up a pint of vanilla ice cream, then forgot I'd bought it once I got home, leaving the bags on the counter while I got some late plants into containers. When I went to put everything away, the bag with the ice cream (which had gotten turned on its side) was a wet mess. No ice cream for me now...


Vanilla apparently a highly expensive spice.


"Vanilla is so expensive that some U.K. ice cream parlours have stopped selling it as a flavour, the BBC reports. At the moment, it’s among the world’s priciest spices (second only to saffron), and at nearly $800 per kilogram, it now costs more than silver.

Native to South and Central America and the Caribbean, the vast majority of the world’s vanilla is cultivated in Madagascar. Derived from the vanilla orchid flower, the spice is pricey to begin with due to the fact that it’s so labour-intensive to grow and harvest."

The good news is we have had cyclic price swings like this before, so look for the flavor to return in the next year or two.


The last paragraph of the article though really bothers me, and points to something we will need to watch for more and more as the Collapse moves forward, the practice of companies to subsitute cheaper ingredients under the radar.

"Today, more than 95 per cent of vanilla-flavoured foods don’t contain vanilla at all, but a synthetic flavouring called vanillin (commonly extracted from wood and sometimes petroleum), Business Insider reports. The use of vanillin is expected to become even more prevalent, the BBC writes, as industries attempt to dodge increased costs."

How many people read the ingredients of a package they are buying, and how many will miss the difference in names? "Vanilla versus Vanillin"

And that it can be made with Coal Tar (among other things).


BTW, I don't think we ever used real vanilla when I was a kid, and I'd be surprised if your family did either. The bottle said "imitation vanilla extract." I still remember the first time I ever had a Baskin-Robbins ice cream pie in the 70's. Working class kids never had nuthin' like that!

ClareBroommaker's picture

Madagascar produced so much vanilla some years ago that the price dropped below being able to sustain the growers. The state then destroyed some farms, helping to raise the price. There has also been a problem with crop theft and weather. Yep, it is exotic and I probably shouldn't expect to be able to afford it here in the middle of N.America.

This gets at why I also am trying to find flavors that I can grow, or that at least some one on this continent can grow. Sweet flavorings are what I don't know how to replace. Well there are sweet fruits, sassafras, and mints, even fennel is sweet to me. But I don't know whether there are things along the lines of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardomom, allspice, etc that I can grow or buy from a nearby grower.

By the way, I grew up with the family cook always using vanillin over vanilla extract. When I was persuaded to try vanilla extract I realized that they are not equivalent. Vanilla extract has more complexity. Good complexity! Even vanillin, though, gives a flavor that seems to have dimension or eh, shape?, which is weird as it is only one molecule.

Sorry if I'm repeating what was in the Business Insider. I didn't read it because I didn't want to take the time to unblock its advertisements.

Sorry about your ice cream.