Avocado shortage affects foodservice industry

Weather issues in California and worker issues in Mexico have affected avocado prices.
 
America is seeing a lighter avocado supply just as the fruit is reaching its highest level of popularity. Bakeries, cafes, and restaurants across the country use avocados in sandwiches, baked goods, guacamole, and specialty items. Is this in jeopardy due to the current shortage, and why is the shortage happening?

 

There has been a rough growing season in California, the nation’s largest avocado producer by far. That, coupled with a much lower volume of Mexican imports due to a grower’s strike for higher pay has led to a significant decrease in avocado supply in the U.S.

California’s drought has caused avocado prices to skyrocket, affecting the inclusion of the item on menus everywhere. Many food service establishments have either raised prices on those menu items or nixed them altogether as they wait out this shortage. It comes at an unfortunate time, because avocados are increasing in demand by consumers.

“The shortage was quite the wake-up call for the industry and for [restaurants] selling foods with avocado,” says Alex Phaneuf, co-owner of Los Angeles bakery and cafe Lodge Bread, which had to remove avocado toast from its menu recently.

Many expect that this shortage will not be long lasting, though. Pricing and availability are showing signs of improvement, which will lead to normalization in the supply. “It’ll take a few more weeks for supply and demand to balance out, but we’re optimistic that we’ve moved past the short supply situation,” says Robb Bertels of Mission Produce, a California-based avocado supplier.