- >>> Blame Brooklyn, blame hipsters: Avocado prices are out of control
By Ciara Linnane
Published: May 6, 2017 http://www.marketwatch.com/story/blame-brooklyn-blame-hipsters-avocado-prices-are-out-of-control-2017-05-04?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts
U.S. consumption grew to 7 pounds a head in 2014, up from 1.1 pounds in 1989
With unfortunate timing — right ahead of Cinco de Mayo celebrations — avocado prices have spiked to a record high, raising the cost of our beloved guacamole bowls.
Avocado prices have climbed to an average of $1.25 a pop, according to trade group Hass Avocado Board, which scans data directly from retailers’ cash registers to track the price. As recently as January, the average selling price was just 89 cents, and in February, it hit a low of 77 cents.
The reason is a sharp rise in demand for the creamy fruit, beloved by Mexicans, hipsters and health nuts. Avocados have become popular for their health benefits, and have been marketed for the past few years as a “superfood,” along with kale, blueberries and wheatgrass. The fruit is a source of potassium, beneficial mono-unsaturated fat, vitamins E, K and folate and is promoted as a nutritious option for diabetics.
That has helped boost demand for dishes such as avocado toast, salads and smoothies, and has even prompted an Italian chef to open the first avocado-based restaurant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, according to the New York Times.
U.S. consumption grew to 7 pounds a head in 2014, the last year for which data is available, from 1.1 pounds in 1989, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC), which allied with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The U.S. imports most of its avocados from Mexico, followed by Chile. California produced $328 million worth of the fruit in 2014, producing 164,000 tons, or 83% of total U.S. volume. The fruit is also grown in Florida and Hawaii.
Demand has soared at a time when the crop is thin, a function of the fruit’s “alternate bearing” pattern.
“Certain varieties, such as the Hass, have a tendency to bear well only in alternate years,” according to an AgMRC report from January. The Hass is the main variety grown in California.
“After a season with a low yield, due to factors such as cold (which the avocado does not tolerate well), the trees tend to produce abundantly the next season. This heavy crop depletes stored carbohydrates, resulting in a reduced yield the following season, and thus the alternate bearing pattern becomes established,” said the report.
Shares of Calavo Growers
Inc. CVGW, +1.29% closed down 0.1% Thursday, and have gained 6% in 2017, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.51% has gained 6.7%.