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Holy guacamole: $10 for a single avocado

Author
Aimee Shaw, NZ Herald ,
Section
Business,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 7 May 2019, 12:37PM
Avocados are for sale at Fruit World Mount Roskill for $10 for one. Photo / NZME
Avocados are for sale at Fruit World Mount Roskill for $10 for one. Photo / NZME

The cost of avocados have been creeping up over the past few months but the cost of the popular fruit appears to have now reached an all-time high - at $10 a piece.

One Auckland green grocer is selling large avocados for $9.99 each, or a tray of two smaller ones for $8.99. The cheapest avocado it has on sale is for $7.99.

The Herald contacted Fruit World Mount Roskill but it declined to comment.

At the middle of last month the price of avocados hit an all-time high, cracking the $5 mark - and at some outlets have almost doubled in price since.

Auckland Mexican restaurant La Fuente has felt the sting of increasing avocado prices, so much so that it had to axe a popular guacamole dish from its menu at the end of February.

La Fuente co-owner Edmundo Farrera said he made the decision to take the dish off the menu as he did not want to pass increasing costs on to the consumer.

Farrera and his wife Anna opened the restaurant in November and after around four months were forced to take it off the menu: "We are small owner-operators so we have to be very careful with everything we price and everything we invest in."

Farrera said he first noticed avocado price fluctuations at the beginning of the year.

Prices have catapulted from $1 to $2, then $2.50 to around $4.50 per fruit. Ordinarily, the restaurant would buy a single avocado from suppliers for between 50 cents and $1.

"We talked about it with the chef and he said 'I'm conscious of this, you keep an eye on it and basically let me know when it's the time we have to take it off the menu,'" Farrera said.

Guacamole was one of the restaurant's signature dishes, and the reason why many people came to La Fuente, he said.

Depending on the size of avocado, the dish would require up to two fruits. The dish cost around $14 but that would have increased to more than $20 if it had been kept on the menu, he said.

Edmundo Farrera, owner of Mexican restaurant La Fuente in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Edmundo Farrera, owner of Mexican restaurant La Fuente in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Farrera is now waiting to get avocados from another supplier midwinter and will reinstate the dish in the next couple of months if prices reduce.

"I've been in the restaurant business for 26 years... the prices of avocado seem to me a bit drastic when they jump. I think growers should be a little bit more considerate to businesses. In Mexico, back home, we also move with the season but we've never had such a jump in prices."

Avocados are known to fluctuate in price, though not so drastically or so early into the season. In June 2017, avocados reached $7.50 a piece in some parts of the country.

La Fuente has been forced to temporarily take guacamole off its menu. Photo / Supplied
La Fuente has been forced to temporarily take guacamole off its menu. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular said avocado prices fluctuated throughout the season and according to crop volumes.

"We have recently had a medium volume season and supply is particularly low at the moment," Scoular said.

"Avocado harvest runs August to February, and there is a very low supply of avocados in New Zealand right now as we are outside of the main season. They are a seasonal fruit, which means there is limited supply during the winter months. However, we expect to see new season Hass avocados available from late July."

Scoular could not confirm if $10 per fruit was an all-time high but said the industry was responding to demand and investing heavily into new plantings of avocados which would be ready to harvest in the next two years.

New Zealand does not import avocados due to risk of biosecurity threats.

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