If you’re already planning your end-of-summer barbecue, you might want to set aside a few extra pennies for that guacamole on the menu: The price of avocados has increased again.
The Los Angeles Times reports that decrease in production from California avocados growers has sent prices for the fruit up by about 60%.
For instance, Sacramento-based Produce Express notes that typically in August the price of wholesale avocados hovers around $0.81 cents apiece. This year, however, that cost is more like $1.33 each.
“It’s very abnormal this time of year,” Jim Boyce, owner of Produce Express, tells the Times.
The Hass Avocado Board noted recently that production in the state during the first week of August was just 3.74 million pounds, about one-third of the typical 10.7 million pounds produced last year at the same time.
It’s The Heat & Sale
Growers suggest that the slower output of avocados this year is tied to the heat and drought in California — last year.
That’s because the avocados currently being harvested were maturing last summer. As a result of the weather, growers say they lost quite a bit of fruit that otherwise would have bulked up this year’s crop.
In addition to the less-than-stellar summer weather, the Times reports that many growers have simply been getting out of the business, selling their land for a larger profit than they make by growing avocados.
The California Avocado Commission estimates that production this year will drop 46% to 215 million pounds from 401 million pounds last year.
While supplies might be running low on avocados, that doesn’t mean consumers’ taste for the fruit is waning. American’s per-capita consumption in 2015 was 6.9 pounds, compared to 3.5 pounds in 2006.
Despite the increase in demand and prices, many restaurateurs are trying not to pass along those costs to customers. Chipotle has noted several times that it wouldn’t increase the price of its guacamole.
The owner of a Mexican restaurant in California tells the Times that despite paying double for boxes of avocados, he’s kept prices the same.