What’s Going On with Avocados?
We’ve received questions about avocados recently, specifically surrounding supply and price. Turns out, there are multiple factors affecting our supply and pricing of avocados. Below is more information about the state of the avocado market and what it means for us and our customers.
Avocados are a seasonal crop, but show up in grocery stores year round because they are grown in different parts of the world. We see avocados from California and Peru in the summer through September, avocados from Chile and the Dominican Republic during the winter, Mexican avocados pretty much all year. Currently, we are in a period between the summer crop and the winter crop, meaning we only have avocados from Mexico right now and fewer avocados on the market overall.
The overall avocado supply dropped this year because California experienced excessive heat and drought over the summer, affecting avocado growth, and now the same excessive heat and drought is affecting Mexican avocados.
Supply has also been affected by the growing market in Europe for Peruvian avocados and strikes that have taken place in Mexico during the summer and fall. The strikes have been related to field and export prices and temporarily shut down avocado exports to the US. The most recent strike in Mexico has ended, which will hopefully increase our avocado supply in the coming weeks.
- Demand for avocados is at an all-time high in the US. In the 1990s, the average American ate 1.5 pounds of avocados per year. In 2012, the average American ate 5 pounds of avocados per year. That’s a 70% increase! The popularity of avocados can be attributed to a focus on consuming “good fats” and other trends.
Supply and demand affects the price distributors charge stores for avocados, which then affects the price for our customers. While the Mexican avocado supply should stabilize in the coming weeks, and we should start seeing winter avocados from Chile and the Dominican Republic soon, the volatility in the avocado market may continue depending on the temperature and drought conditions on avocado farms. We will continue to work with our distributors and growers to ensure we have adequate supplies of avocados available for our customers heading into the holiday season.
Did you know that how to tell if an avocado is ripe changes by when in the season the avocado was picked? Earlier season avocados have a higher water content, which means when you are determining if an avocado is ripe, base your decision on firmness rather than color. Earlier season avocados may be softer than you are used to and may also take longer to ripen.
Later season avocados have a higher oil content, which means you can still check for ripeness by how firm it is, but that the true test is taking a look at the color of the flesh. Avocados with a higher oil content may feel firmer, but will still be ripe and ready to eat. If you have any questions when trying to select a ripe avocado, please ask one of our Produce stockers – they’ll be happy to help you find one!