Vanilla bean prices have been running between the equivalent of $1,000 and $1,200 per pound, nearly five times what it was a few years ago. And that's rippling through the ice cream industry. One key reason for the increased cost is last year's cyclone in leading vanilla producer Madagascar, which created a huge crop shortage. Larger ice cream companies, like Minnesota-based Kemps, a top-selling brand in the Upper Midwest, are having to make some adjustments. A Kemps spokesperson said the higher production costs might force customers to pay an extra 25 cents to 50 cents per gallon.
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