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Current Position:Home » News » Marketing & Retail » Food Marketing » Topic

Avocado shortage pushes up prices

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2016-10-12  Views: 24
Core Tip: A shortage of avocados from Mexico is causing prices, already above normal all summer, to soar to astronomical levels, according to Southern California suppliers.
A shortage of avocados from Mexico is causing prices, already above normal all summer, to soar to astronomical levels, according to Southern California suppliers. On Monday, 10 Oct., Santa Ana-based Ingardia Bros. Produce Inc. said prices are hovering at $76 a case, the highest the company has seen in three decades.

“It’s very, very critical right now,” Ingardia produce buyer Cruz Sandoval said.

A poor growing season in California had led to a surge in prices, which have more than doubled from last year.

With the California avocado season coming to a close, purveyors like Ingardia were hoping for some relief from growers in Mexico. But Sandoval said there are not enough avocados being picked south of the border to meet demand.

It’s unclear what is causing the shortage.

Shipments from Mexico, according to data by Hass Avocado Board., have plummeted compared with a year ago. For the week of Oct. 11, 2015, the U.S. received 44.3 million pounds of avocados from Mexico. For the week of Oct. 9, Hass projected shipments from Mexico would reach 42.9 million pounds; instead shipments recorded the week of Oct. 2 reached only 22.9 million pounds.

Sandoval said he’s heard Mexican growers are “holding out for more money because the California season is running dry, and there’s no other sources.”

In the meantime, local suppliers and restaurant owners say the problem is real.

Phil Henry, president of Escondido-based Henry Avocado Corp., said his company is facing “extreme shortage.”

“Last week, we received less than one-third of the volume we need to supply demand, and this week is not starting any better,” he said Monday in an email. “In addition, we are paying significantly more for whatever shipments we do receive.”

Ingardia sold cases – about 40 to 48 avocados – for $50 to $60 throughout the summer. As supplies shifted to Mexico last week, prices jumped to $65 a case, up $25 to $35 from a year ago. Over the weekend, Ingardia ordered its usual shipment of 240 cases. On Monday, the warehouse received 80 cases. Sandoval scrambled, calling alternate suppliers hoping to get his hands on the fruit. “It’s ridiculous. I’m scared I won’t get what I need,” he said.

On the retail side, the average unit price of avocados has gone up nearly 20 cents between December and Sept. 4, according to the latest prices reported by the Hass Avocado Board.
 
keywords: avocados
 
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