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Why are avocados so expensive?

Posted: 4:54 PM, May 06, 2022
Updated: 2022-05-06 20:25:09-04
How To Keep Your Avocados Fresh Longer

(KERO) — Avocados, although very popular, are a very expensive crop to grow and maintain. 23ABC took an in-depth look at a 2021 report from Business Insider and has more on the extra associated costs and the reason behind the avocado's growth in popularity.

The main reason avocados cost so much is because it costs more to produce them, especially in terms of water usage.

On average, if we're producing 100,000 pounds of avocados per acre, that takes about a million gallons of water. Plus the costs of fertilizer.

As Gus Gunderson, Director of Farming of Limoneira, explained to Business Insider: "There are multiple inputs that avocados require, whether it's water, fertilizer, pruning, pest control, the sunburn protection of trees. All those go into making your chances better of having a very good-quality crop. When we decide to plant an avocado orchard, we'll plant trees that come from certified nurseries. We have to place our orders years in advance. On average, if we're producing 100,000 pounds per acre, that takes about a million gallons of water, so 100 gallons per pound, so it'd be about 50 gallons per 8-ounce fruit. But that's dependent on what mother nature will throw at you, you know, we have wind, we have intense sun. It's really hard for a grower to manage the unmanageable things that will affect a crop."

In addition, avocados do not have a long shelf life. They only last for seven to 10 days once they are picked. To alleviate this issue, unripe - or green - avocados are shipped and sent to ripening centers and then moved to stores.

Avocado started a comeback at the turn of the millennium, and it was helped by an unlikely political decision. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture lifted a 90-year-old ban to allow the importation of Mexican avocados to all 50 states.

Initially, this decision angered Californian growers, who feared the move could slash local growers' sales. But what actually happened was the opposite. As avocados became available all year sales soared.

As more people realized the health benefits of avocados, the demand increased.

Explains expert Hazel Wallace to Business Insider: "There's quite a big hype around avocados, but it actually is quite justified when it comes to how nutrient-dense this food is. There's not many foods that actually replicate it in terms of a nutritional profile."

Like many other foods, the biggest day for avocado sales is the Super Bowl where an estimated 200 million pounds are eaten during the game.

This increased demand and the high cost of production are the reasons why one of your favorite superfoods continues to go up in price.