ICE cream makers in South Lakeland have warned a projected spike in vanilla prices could see the flavour disappear from Cumbrian counters.

Poor crops in Mexico and India are expected to raise the cost of the bean extract – which is already the second most expensive in the world.

The cost has increased from $25 to $30 per kilo this year and experts say prices are likely to continue rising.

Heather Gardner, who owns Natland Mill Back Ice Cream Parlour, Kendal, said vanilla was already a very expensive flavour.

The 59-year-old produces 16 flavours of ice cream, with daughter-in-law Louise, 34.

Their popular Very Vanilla flavour, made with milk from their 100-strong dairy herd, has been on the menu since production began six years ago.

Mrs Gardner warned an increase in pod prices could halt its production.

“The more vanilla prices go up, the more I have to charge over the counter, and customers don’t always understand the increase isn’t our fault,” she said.

“We have enough pods in to last the summer, but we would have to look at taking the flavour out if prices went up for longer.”

Peter Fryer, the owner of English Lakes Ice Cream, in Kendal, said its retail prices were fixed for the season.

However, he said a rise in pod costs could also spell the end for their recently launched Madagascan Vanilla ice cream, which Mr Fryer said had proved ‘incredibly successful so far’.

“We make our ice cream fresh, so we’re not holding high stocks and price changes will have to be passed on to the customer,” he said.

“We’ve had to take our pistachio flavour off the market because it became too expensive for people to buy. We might have to look at doing the same for vanilla if the pod price makes it too expensive.”

Tony Perruza, manager of Kendal-based ice cream vendors Joseph’s, said: “It will probably affect us a bit but it’s like everything else that increases. We’ve got quite a few (vanilla pods) so they’ll last us until next year. Then we might notice a difference.”