If you’re a big fan of avocado toast, guacamole, or any avocado dish, Australia is the place to be right now. According to a report from the agribusiness bank Rabobank, Australia will need to both consume and export more avocados as it faces an "avo-lanche" of avocados. The report says that the supply of avocados is up 26 percent compared to the last 12 months, which means that there are now 22 avocados per Australian.
Due to the significant maturing of avocado trees in the past season, primarily in Western Australia and Queensland, there is a national oversupply of avocados and retail prices have fallen to a record low of $1 each early this month, says Rabobank.
The avocado glut comes as other veggie staples, such as lettuce, have skyrocketed in price in Australia. KFC, for example, recently had to replace lettuce with cabbage. The mismatch has reportedly led to avocados being used as a cheaper salad substitute for leafy greens.
Amid the glut, producers are asking the public to dig deep and stuff themselves with avocados. The Guardian reported in June that while 80 percent of Australian households regularly eat avocados, growers want to rope in the remainder as well. "There are still households that don’t buy avocados or buy them infrequently,” Avocado Australia chief executive John Tyas told the outlet. “There’s still a lot of room to grow domestically."
“When they’re awesome value it’s a great opportunity to buy more," he said. "For all the good reasons we know – they’re incredibly nutritious and versatile, they make any meal better.”
The Rabobank report forecasts that avocado production in Australia will expand by 40 percent in the next five years, as all avocado-growing regions in Australia are expecting production growth.
Thankfully, Australian consumers seem to be ready for this growth. The report says that local demand is predicted to grow, while consumer demand in international markets are also expanding. The average volume of avocados consumed by each Australian household increased 31 percent on the previous year, and people are paying 29 percent less for avocados due to lower prices.
Though this low price is good for customers who want to get their fill of avocados, it has put considerable pressure on avocado growers, who are already facing increasing input costs and labor shortages. “It’s very tough for growers at the moment, many of whom are doing it at or below the cost of production,” Tyas told News Corp Australia this month. “At one dollar apiece, growers are losing money."
The report says that the surplus avocados creates an opportunity for export growth: the Australian export volumes of avocados have already increased by more than 350 percent in the past year.
“The Singapore and Hong Kong markets have been stand-out performers, with Australia growing to account for 46 per cent and 12 per cent market share of their avocado imports, respectively,” report author Pia Piggott said.
Malaysia is also a significant market, with Australian exports making up 46 percent of avocado imports in Malaysia. Exports to the Middle East and Japan are also up.
The report says the rise of avocado consumption in Asia is a growing opportunity for avocado exporters, but Australia faces competition from Mexico and South America. Australia has limited or no access to three of the largest avocado-importing markets in Asia—Japan, China, and South Korea, which challenges their predicted growth.
“While exporting provides the greatest opportunity for Australia’s avocado industry to attract a good price and improve revenue, ensuring high export quality is paramount to maintaining the reputation and premium of the fruit, and continued investment in improving export access remains a key priority for the Australian avocado industry,” Piggott said.
With Australia begging people to take avocados off their hands, hopefully avocado toast here in New York City will no longer cost an outrageous $15.