London, July 27 : The humble ice cream vans may soon become a thing of the past, courtesy the credit crunch.
Their jingling tunes, a sound that epitomises summer, are in danger of being silenced by the rising price of fuel and key ingredients.
Van owners have been struggling to cope as the price of powdered milk, used to make ice cream, rocketed by nearly 70percent last year.
Despite a brief respite earlier this year, the cost is now rising sharply again. Wheat flour is also going up adding to the cost of cones.
Overheads such as diesel and council permits also add to the pressures that could spell the end of a British institution.
Mark Hunsdon, who runs Lucky Clover Leaf Ice Cream with his brother Scott in Reading, Berks, said: "If things don't improve in the next five years I think we will become a thing of the past.
"We thought last year was bad with the appalling weather but things just keep getting worse. It is a disaster. We have been forced to put prices up to cope with the rising costs of powdered milk, wheat and fuel," The Daily Star quoted him, as saying.
The price of a 99 cone has risen from 70p to 80p in a bid to cope with rising costs.