California’s avocado harvest is drawing to a close, and prices for Mexican avocado imports, which represent the bulk of supply in the US, are skyrocketing.
Just since July 1, prices have doubled for the larger, 48-count Mexican avocados to $62.25 per case, which is 10% above the five-year average price for this time of year. Prices for smaller, 60CT avocados are up 80%, to $46.25 per case, or 8% above average.
What’s behind the extraordinary price gains appears to be an unseasonable mismatch among avocado sizes. New season Mexican fruit is currently trending unusually closer to 60CT, used mainly in food service and retail, than 48CT, which are directed mainly to retail. Industry officials expect that trend to continue for approximately another two weeks, before the assortment of avocado sizes returns to historical averages and prices subside.
With the California season set to end in the next two to three weeks, avocado purchasers are facing pricing pressures. California-grown 48CT and 60CT avocado prices have increased by 50% since July 1, and prices can be expected to remain elevated or even continue to climb.
Mexico is the major source for avocados in the US, but US domestic supply can counterbalance Mexican imports in summer months. Some retailers or food-service operators may be able to further diversify their supply chains with avocados from Peru and Chile. However, Peru and Chile typically ship their product to other countries unless volume has been previously contracted, meaning there is less opportunity to source from these South American countries when the market gets tight.
Avocado buyers can plan for future sourcing events using Gro’s five-year annual view of pricing to understand the markets’ most volatile periods and if a diversified source of supply makes sense to your organization. Buyers can also use this analytic, available in the Gro Portal, to monitor prices in near real time for different size avocados.