Photo by Claudia Totir via Getty Images

The fruit hit record prices, but is now less expensive

Tim Nelson
February 07, 2018

Today, the avocado essentially functions as a unit of currency. There’s a bona-fide black market for them in New Zealand. Realtors are using the allure of avocado toast to bribe millennials into buying homes (defaulting on your mortgage never tasted so good!). Fortunately, there’s some good news on the horizon: according to reports from Bloomberg, the wholesale price of Hass avocados is down more than six percent since reaching record highs earlier in July. 

Anyone with even the most basic understanding of capitalist economics could guess that our insatiable demand— double what it was ten year ago, according to USDA estimates— is behind the high price of this supposed superfood . But there are other factors behind the rise and fall of avocado costs. Dry weather in California and Mexico hurt the harvest during what was already an “off” year for avocado trees, which bear fruit every 12-14 months on a two-year production cycle. 

Thankfully, crop yield has started to trend back up in places like Michoacan, Mexico’s main growing region. And with a wetter winter behind us, growers already expect a bigger crop in 2018. Coupled with increased production in other growing regions like Chile, there’s reason to believe that supply can keep up with demand once again. 

Still, experts warn not to expect a precipitous price drop in the market for this popular pitted fruit any time soon. “Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up… [but] you’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,” advises Robert Bonghi, the director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance. Avocados from Michoacan are still around twice as expensive as they were just six months ago. Barring something like a widespread cultural awakening to the environmental impact of avocado production, we’ll continue paying a premium for Instagram’s favorite guacamole ingredient. Still, it’s worth toasting to this financial reprieve, however small and temporary it may be.  

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