When it comes to food trends, avocados won 2015.
They were the most pinned food on Pinterest, they dominated every platform of social media, and avocado tattoos even became a thing. We know this because Miley Cyrus has one.
The obsession with avocados reached its peak when Nigella Lawson famously proclaimed that avocado on toast was the “fabric of [her] life”.
Watch Nigella Lawson make her signature avocado on toast. Post continues after video.
Aside from all the buzz and celebrity endorsement, many of us genuinely love avocado. It’s the perfect replacement for butter, it’s a key ingredient in my beloved Mexican food, and it even tastes good in a smoothie. Finding a perfectly ripe avocado in the supermarket frankly makes my day, and I end up running to the self-serve counter with this attitude:
But upon making my avocado purchase (and definitely NOT putting these glorious fruits through as potatoes, because that would just be plain wrong), I notice something.
The total on my receipt appears a little higher than I expected. Maybe the Snickers weren’t 2 for 1 like it said on the shelf? Maybe I’m being taxed even more for my period than I thought?
And then I see it.
Did I…did I just pay almost $4 for a single avocado?
Maybe Gina Rinehart can afford to pay such ridiculous prices, but I cannot.
So why are avocados so damn expensive?
Well, I investigated the Great Avocado Scandal, and it turns out there are quite a few theories when it comes to the price of avocados.
Avocado trees take a long time to mature:
Avocados planted from seed can take anywhere between five and 13+ years to flower and produce fruit. So part of the price of avocados is compensating for the initial investment of time by the farmer. Avocado trees also bear their fruit alternatively, meaning that the tree might produce a large crop one year, and a small crop the next.
Brace yourselves: There might be an avocado shortage:
In early 2014, the ABC reported that bushfires in Western Australia were causing a nationwide shortage in avocados, and pushing prices up. Given the long maturity time for avocado trees, damage to crops will have a long-term impact on prices. When local sources are affected, we get our avocados from New Zealand. But the cost of freight means that the prices are still very high.
Avocados are tropical which adds season and transport costs:
The avocado tree is native to Mexico and Central America – areas with a tropical climate. Avocados do best at moderately warm temperatures (15 – 30 degrees celsius) and moderate humidity, so any extreme seasonal variations have an impact. For example, a couple of years ago when there was extreme rain in Northern Queensland, avocado produce was seriously affected.
Supply and demand:
A recent update on sydneyfresh.com.au stated the following:
“Prices will be a bit higher this coming week, as is usual for this time of year. This is simply because the demand is higher, and the growers are therefore able charge a higher price for their produce. Our main focus will be to ensure the quality we source is the best available.”
When demand is high, prices increase. So, in short, the high price of avocados can partially be blamed on the hipsters who have made smashed avocado on toast the latest cultural delicacy.
As with all important questions, there probably isn’t one single explanation for the Great Avocado Scandal. Rather, the answer to the question of why avocados are so expensive is likely to come down to some combination of several factors.
If, like me, you don’t want to pay the high prices, perhaps you should go out and buy seeds to grow your own avocados. People might laugh at me now, but I’ll be eating some beautiful avocados come 2029.
How much would you pay for the perfect avo?