Big Bucks for Nature’s Butter: Why Avo Costs Extra
Our avocados used to cost $1 per serve. Now they’re $1.50, and you’re likely bummed about it. Honestly, we are too. But here’s the story:
At Dig Inn, avocados have become as American as apple pie: we sell nearly 320,000 of them each year. And until now — it’s been smooth sailing. A symbiotic love affair between supply and demand.
Avocados have never been cheap, but we’ve all been willing to pay the price for nature’s butter. However, since the summer of 2016, the cost of avo has stealthily skyrocketed — increasing to 135% the cost of its 2015 brethren.
The truth behind the price hike isn’t pretty: the current dip in supply can be attributed to a one-two punch administered by mother nature and the Mexican drug cartel, agriculture’s most terrifying power couple.
Left-hand jab: Mexico, the USA’s #1 avo hookup, generally reaps a hefty crop throughout June and July, but this year, due to some poorly-timed rains and a late-developing crop, they didn’t.
Right cross: Over the past ten years, the number of avocados eaten in the United States has quadrupled. Naturally, a Narcos-esque scandal unfolded, with cartels capitalizing on the popularity of this once commonplace crop. When avocados started raking in cash, local kingpins began brutalizing farmers into turning over land and profits. Since drug lords aren’t concerned with labor standards, and thanks to the aforementioned bum crop, these dealers are demanding prices far beyond farmers’ wildest imaginations.
This avo ambush led to an unanticipated mass-grower strike in Mexico, bringing harvests to a standstill. Alternate suppliers in countries like Chile and Peru just can’t make up the difference. And to top it all off, major heat waves in southern California have stunted USA production beyond repair.
Essentially, it’s a crummy year to be in the avocado game. For quite some time we’ve tried to take the price hike on the chin. We worked alongside our farmers to agree upon the fairest prices, but it’s come to this: if we don’t increase the cost of our avocados now, we won’t be able to offer them anymore. And that is simply too sad to bear.
Hence, $1.50 for your fave Omega-3.
It may not be ideal, but we’re bringing a strong rebound game — our supply team is working overtime to secure a domestic crop of avocados for 2017, and our chefs are busy crafting some top notch alternatives (think turmeric chickpeas & coconut, or edamame smash w/ lemon & olive oil). Our kitchens are hunkering down, and we aim to impress.
Need a shoulder to cry on? Drop us a note at [email protected]. Let’s talk this out.
Sources: Mission Produce; Produce Alliance