Avocado prices soar on high demand - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Avocado prices soar on high demand

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Avocados, a Cinco De Mayo favorite, could be costing you more. Avocado prices have spiked amid high demand, up by as much as 55% this year.

According to the Hass Avocado Board, the price has been jumping since the start of the year. As of January 1, the average price of a conventional avocado was 89 cents. By mid-March, the average sales price had soared by 40 percent, to $1.25.

The spike is due to a number of reasons. 

"From what I can see, this is largely a supply and demand scenario," said Scott Dressler, associate professor of economics at Villanova School of Business. "It's just a really lousy time for avocados."

Climate is part of the problem: Southern California — where most of America's avocados are grown — saw unseasonably hot temperatures last June, damaging some of its crops. Then, in July, Mexican avocado growers went on strike. Indeed, it's been a really lousy time for avocados, at least when it comes to getting our hands on them at a price we can afford.

Part of the problem-a higher demand worldwide for the trendy food. 

"I see a huge demand for avocados in many markets, especially emerging ones like China, as its growing middle class seeks diverse foods," said Richie Santosdiaz, a London-based international trade expert. "When I first got to the UK six and a half years ago there were maybe one or two Chipotles. Now I've lost count, and avocados are, of course, a big part of that Mexican cuisine."

Second only to Superbowl Sunday, Cinco de Mayo is the biggest occasion in America for guacamole, which may have you wondering, "Am I going to get charged more for guacamole this year than I would if there were not an avocado shortage?

If you're making it yourself, then of course you will be unable to beat the grocery store's inflated prices. But if you eat out, you probably won't see the difference. Restaurants, like Amigo's in Cedar Falls, says they'll eat the loss.

"We try to keep that same flow going, we don't try to really fluctuate," said Amigos Food runner Rolando Dominguez. "Unless there's some really big change in cheese prices or something, we don't really see that happening."

The California Avocado Commission predicts 105 million pounds of avocados will be devoured for the holiday, which is down from 135 million last year.

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