Blame climate change, too
No, you're not going crazy if you think that the price of avocados is high—because they are reaching record heights. You're actually getting lower quality avocados for a higher price, in no small part because avocados are now too popular for their own good. This information continues a week of terrible breakfast-related news; over the last few days, we've seen several of the ways that climate change can impact food prices, and breakfast foods—including coffee, cereal, and even orange juice—seem to be particularly vulnerable to these market and natural forces. Prices for many of these morning favorites are on the rise, due to a crunch in supply that's exacerbated by climate change and a seemingly endless demand. Today, Quartz declared another victim: the avocado.
The avocado shortfall has gotten so bad on the East Coast that one New York-based caterer told Quartz, "We called it avo-geddon ... We actually took avocados off of our menu for a bit and subbed in sweet potatoes." The demand for avocados has been skyrocketing since the 2000s. In 2014 alone, Americans ate as many as 4 billion avocados, according to a report from the Washington Post. And though a steady increase in demand is one factor driving up prices, avocado farmers around the world appear to be unable to keep up supply.
Domestic production of avocados is down, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so about 80 percent of avocados eaten in the United States are imported. Most of those imported avocados come from Mexico, but, as Quartz outlines in its report, high temperatures in California this year affected shipment of the fruits from south of the border, as did avocado growers' strikes.
Mexico isn't the only major exporter of avocados to the United States, but according to Quartz, growers in other countries known for avocados, like the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Chile, have been unable to pick up the slack. The numbers are showing it: "This year through July, avocado import volumes at US east coast ports were down 9.8% from the same period in 2015."
Anyway you slice it, it looks like you're going to be shelling out for avocados for the foreseeable future. So maybe it's finally time to give up on the obsession with avocado roses.