How Australia Is Dealing With Its Huge Avocado Surplus

If you're an avocado fan, you'd know that the rich, buttery fruit currently doesn't come cheap in the United States; with high prices triggered by a combination of circumstances that include a June hailstorm in Mexico, and fertilizer costs boosted by the war in Ukraine. As a result, per Fortune, avocado prices for the week of July 23, 2022, were at $1.41 each — which is a 30% increase from last year's prices.

But, it is also possible to have too much of a good thing, as Australian avocado farmers have discovered. Bumper avocado yields in Oz are leading to an excess of supply, and as a result, avocado prices fell to as much as 60 cents, as The Washington Post reports, but they can sell for nearly $2 in New York, per The Wall Street Journal. Ironically, even though Australia grows its own, the country also imports the fruit, and in 2020 it brought in 24,310 fresh and dried avocados, per the Independent.

Australia needs to find buyers for its avocados

The surplus avocado problem, which was spotted in October-November of 2021, actually saw West Australian growers throw out lower-grade fruit with cosmetic defects because it actually cost them more to pack up their produce in preparation for market, per ABC News. As one farmer put it, "To have to dump fruit which had a commercial return last year and has a zero return this year has a big impact on farmer's bottom line and some farmers are losing money this year. It's disappointing, the resources that go into producing avocados — it's quite high and it's expensive."

And, while it would seem to make sense for Australian supply to meet American demand, things don't work that way, because there are still outstanding issues between the U.S. and Australian governments over the trading of citrus fruits from Florida, U.S. apples, and stone fruit per the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Instead, Australian farmers are looking for buyers closer to home and have found limited success in markets like Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, per Vice. However, the agricultural bank Rabobank says the oversupply is expected to continue over the next five years, (per

Australians are being encouraged to eat more avocado

In order to work through the avocado glut, The Wall Street Journal says every single Australian would need to eat 22 avocados throughout the year in order to get through the glut, and that, in turn, has avocado industry executives encouraging home cooks to make creative use of the fruit. "Avocados are being sold at prices that are offering excellent value for shoppers at the moment. While households are feeling the pinch with inflation, we recommend that shoppers take advantage of the health-giving properties of avocados," Avocados Australia CEO John Tyas was quoted as saying, (per

While the surplus may be no laughing matter, it is drawing a few smirks among millennials who, in 2017, were the target of criticism from Australian property developer Tim Gurner, who once said the generation couldn't afford to buy homes because of their fondness for the fruit. During one television interview, Gurner said: "When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't trying to buy smashed avocado for $19 and 4 coffees at $4 each," per Newsweek. We can only wonder what Gurner is thinking now.