Avocados Plummet to Some of the Lowest Prices in 5 Years

A variety of unexpected factors have caused prices to drop drastically since June.

Not long ago, avocado toast was decried as the symbol of millennial excess, driven in large part by the expense of the item's eponymous ingredient. (Not the toast.) But now, at a time when inflation seems to be driving up the price of nearly everything, avocados may suddenly be one of the better deals at the grocery store.

The wholesale price for avocados is actually down 35% year over year — and down 67% from its peak this past June, reports CNN, citing data from Rabo AgriFinance. Meanwhile, for consumers, while overall grocery costs are up 13% compared to last year, data from NielsenIQ reportedly shows that the average unit price for avocados is down 2.6% compared to September 2021, which also represents a major drop from this past July when store prices for avocados were up 31% year over year.

Similarly, compiling USDA data over the past five years, the site FreshFruitPortal.com shows that the current prices for a kilogram of Hass avocados are at some of the lowest levels they've been over that period, whereas just four months ago, prices were the highest they had been. The shift has been so drastic that, two weeks ago, the Philadelphia nonprofit Sharing Excess hosted an event giving away over 200,000 avocados to anyone who showed up.

Fresh avocados at a market
Fresh avocados at a market.

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So what's behind the crash? Richard Kottmeyer, managing director of food, agriculture, and beverage with FTI Consulting, told CNN, "It's one of those odd situations where this extreme oversupply of avocados is only possible because of a perfect storm of Black Swan events."

Over 90% of avocados consumed in America come from Mexico, and earlier in the year, Mexican imports of the fruit were down due to a couple of trade incidents, driving up prices. However, as trade normalized, both Mexico and other global avocado suppliers suddenly saw better crops than expected.

"Bumper crops would usually be sold across the globe," Kottmeyer continued. "[But] Europe has significant food inflation, so when avocado prices got high earlier this year, the demand went down in that market." Couple that with ongoing COVID issues in China and the war in Ukraine and, as Kottmeyer added, "Much of the avocado oversupply has wound up in the U.S."

The moral: Get your discount avocado toast while you can.

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