Mexicans are taking to social media in droves to protest against a shortage of avocados which has sent prices soaring in recent weeks.
According to reports in the local press, prices have risen by 92 per cent since the end of last year due to the biggest ever harvest in Mexico coming to an early end and the new one not being ready.
Prices are expected to come down at the end of July when the new season gets underway, but in the mean time the crisis has prompted a surge of memes portraying avocados as the must-have luxury item. One features an offer to trade a box of avocados for an iPhone 6 plus, while another shows a picture of some avocado crates with the tag line: “Breaking News: part of Chapo Guzmán's fortune is found”.
Consumers in the US have also been hit with price hikes as the Mexican shortage has coincided with a sharp fall in domestic production caused by heatwave in California. The 4th July holiday is the second largest avocado consumption event of the year in the US after the Super Bowl. In 2015 Americans consumed 117.6m lbs (more than 53,000 tonnes) of avocados during the Independence Day celebrations.
“We've been here for 25 years, and this has never happened before,” Jeanne Davis of Coyote Growers told the LA Times. “There will probably be a minimal amount of avocados for next year because we think that some of the flowers didn’t make it.”
Figures from the US Department of Agriculture show that the price of a two-layer carton of Mexican Hass avocados reached US$56.25 compared to US$33.25 at this point last year.
The avocado shortage is being felt as far afield as Australia and New Zealand. Last month, producers in New Zealand’s North Island reported an increase in fruit theft from their orchards, while in Australia, poor weather and bushfires have been blamed for a spike in prices.