Avocado prices are at an all-time high ahead of Cinco de Mayo on Friday
Your Cinco de Mayo guac is gonna cost you this year.
Avocado prices are at an all-time high ahead of the celebration of Mexican culture this Friday, when folks often feast on guacamole made from the mashed-up green fruit.
Skyrocketing demand across the globe, plus a much smaller crop yield this year, has added up to a 22-pound case of Hass avocados from Mexico costing $28 last week – more than double last year’s price, Bloomberg reports. That’s also the most expensive avocados have run in the 19 years that data has been collected.
That wholesale spike has trickled down supermarket shelves, where the average price of a Hass avocado surged from 89 cents in January to $1.25 just last month, according to the Hass Avocado Board. And the avocados last Cinco de Mayo just 82 cents apiece.
If you’re going organic, they’re more like $1.50 a pop. So buying two avocados to whip up homemade guac can set you back $3 or more on just the base ingredient. That doesn’t sound like much until you consider it was well below $2 last year.
And restaurants that dish guacamole and other avocado products have been hit hard. Chipotle increased prices by about 5% in one-fifth of its stores earlier this year. Subway no longer offers fresh avocado as a sandwich topping.
Alessandro Biggi, the co-owner of Brooklyn’s new Avocaderia bar devoted to avocados, said the price of the fruit has doubled since creating their business plan. He and his partners will try to avoid raising menu prices by buying avocados in even greater bulk.
“Of course, that might change in the future,” he warned. “But we’re trying to keep the pricepoint ($6.95 for toast, $14.95 for an avocado burger) affordable.”
So how did we get here?
Well, just over 80% of the avocados that Americans use come from Mexico, whose avocado shipments to the U.S. ballooned from 24 million pounds in 2000 to a 1.76 billion pounds in 2014, according to the Hass Avocado Board.
We’ve developed an insatiable appetite for the buttery fruit, particularly as medical studies claim the omega-3 fats in avocados provide health benefits like lowering your risk of cancer and heart disease. Plus, they’re a rich protein source for vegetarians and vegans that tastes great.
So we’re buying twice as many as we did a decade ago; per-capita consumption jumped from 3.5 pounds in 2006 to 6.9 pounds in 2015, per U.S. government data. And Starbucks has added avocado spread to its menu.
But that supply is struggling. Avocados are an alternate bearing corp, which means a larger harvest one year is often followed by a smaller crop year. Alas, 2017 is the dud year.
The weather also hurt this year’s harvest. California, another major U.S. avocado supplier, projects a 44% decrease in crop partly due to last year’s heat waves. Peru also lowered its crop forecast after severe flooding.
The bottomline is that avocado prices will remain elevated for months to come, but the crops could rebound for a cheaper bowl of guacamole next Cinco de Mayo. The California Avocado Commission also noted in January that, “the fruit on the trees is looking very good now,” and they expect to “ramp up” harvesting in late spring.
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