Why the Price of Avocados Is About to Rise — And It’s Not Inflation
With inflation hitting 7.5% in January, Americans are seeing higher prices for virtually everything — including groceries. But not every price increase can be blamed on inflation. Prices of avocados could rise as the U.S. government suspends the import of avocados from Mexico, according to an Associated Press report. The suspension occurred after a U.S. plant safety inspector working in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, received a threatening cell phone message. The message was apparently from a member of a drug cartel in the region.
The suspension was confirmed Saturday, Feb. 12, according to the AP. This preceded the Super Bowl, which the AP said is the “biggest sales opportunity of the year for Mexican avocado growers.”
The Mexican avocado growers and packers association had taken out a Super Bowl ad to promote avocados and guacamole as part of a Super Bowl tradition. The suspension did not affect avocado sales prior to the game, as avocados had already been imported weeks ago — and were already in U.S. stores in preparation for the annual sports event.
However, because Mexican avocados account for 80% of U.S. consumption, prices could rise due to decreased supply as a result of the suspension. Meanwhile, avocado consumption in the U.S. has doubled between 2010 and 2020, up to 9 pounds per person per year. David Magana, senior analyst for Rabobank International, told Spokesman.com that per-capita consumption could reach 11 pounds per person by 2026.
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This is not the first time that drug cartel members have threatened employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services. In Aug. 2019, the AP reports, a USDA inspection team was “directly threatened” in the town of Ziracuaretiro. At the time, the USDA issued a statement declaring, “For future situations that result in a security breach, or demonstrate an imminent physical threat to the well-being of APHIS personnel, we will immediately suspend program activities.”
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