A Pending Avocado Shortage Could Cause Skyrocketing Prices in the U.S.
All avocado imports from Mexico have been halted.
Earlier this week, the US government suspended all avocado imports from Mexico after a US safety plant inspector was threatened. The decision to halt shipments, especially so suddenly, has left grocery stores, restaurants, and consumers scrambling, CNBC reports.
While the import suspension is a temporary solution, it appears poised to drive price increases and supply chain issues, a recurring theme in the US over the last year.
Prior to the moratorium, the Mexican state of Michoacán provided about 80% of avocados to American suppliers and was the only state in Mexico fully authorized to export avocados to the US. According to David Magana, a senior fruits and vegetables analyst for Rabobank who spoke with the outlet, that number is even higher this time of year.
"Obviously, we will see availability of avocados significantly decline in the next couple of weeks, and by economic logic, we can expect avocado prices to increase temporarily," Magana said.
In positive news, Magana also said avocado production in California is up about 15% versus last year, meaning the US is not entirely out of options.
"If this ban lasts only two weeks, we will probably see less availability, but I don’t think that the impact is going to be too big," Magana added. "We’re just past Super Bowl weekend, and people probably already have avocados in their kitchen."
The US government has not yet announced any sort of timeline for lifting the suspension, but in a statement to CNBC, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that it will "remain in place for as long as necessary to ensure the appropriate actions are taken, to secure the safety of APHIS personnel working in Mexico."
The average US consumer eats about eight pounds of avocados per year. If the suspension drags on for too long, Americans could be looking at inflated prices in the coming weeks.