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Avocado prices hit record levels in U.S.

Staff Writer |
Avocado prices across the United States have increased to record levels and unfortunately at a time when many Americans want them most, Cinco de Mayo.

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Avocado prices have climbed to an average of $1.25 each, according to trade group Hass Avocado Board, which scans data directly from retailers’ cash registers to track the price. As recently as January, the average selling price was just 89 cents, and in February, it hit a low of 77 cents.

The reason is a sharp rise in demand for the fruit and low yielding crops in both Mexico and California. Avocados have become popular for their health benefits, and have been marketed for the past few years as a “superfood,” along with kale, blueberries and wheatgrass. The fruit is a source of potassium, beneficial mono-unsaturated fat, vitamins E, K and folate and is promoted as a nutritious option for diabetics.

U.S. consumption also grew to 7 pounds a head in 2014, the last year for which data is available, from 1.1 pounds in 1989, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC), which allied with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. imports most of its avocados from Mexico, followed by Chile. California produced $328 million worth of the fruit in 2014, producing 164,000 tons, or 83% of total U.S. volume. The fruit is also grown in Florida and Hawaii.


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