Avocado growers are pleading with customers to buy more of the fruit as a glut in supply sends prices to a historic low.
Across the country, the oversupply of avocados has seen prices drop dramatically – with the fruit going for as little as $1 in some stores.
The Avocados Australia chief executive, John Tyas, said prices were the lowest in decades.
“You’d have to go back a few decades to see them at these prices, and in real dollar terms, they’re probably even cheaper now than back then,” Tyas said.
“Once you get round to that low price, $1 a piece, no one is making any money. A lot of growers are going backward.”
He said that the oversupply, coupled with increased costs of fertilizer, fuel, and freight, has meant some growers are reconsidering avocados in the future.
“It’s a perfect storm for avocado growers,” Tyas said. “They can weather it for a while, but the prices we see are not sustainable in the long term.
“Some are re-evaluating their future. No doubt, there will be people looking to change direction.”
The oversupply is being driven by new avocado orchards planted in the past five to 10 years coming into production.
“I’ve described it as growing pains for the industry,” Tyas said.
“We’ve been trying to develop new export markets with the Australian government; it’s taken much longer than expected.”
Western Australian growers recently joined the Japanese market.
On a domestic level, Australians love avocados, with the country consuming 80,000 tonnes in 2021 – and Tyas predicts that will double by 2026.
Tyas said the industry needs to develop international and domestic markets, and with 80% of Australian households eating avocados regularly, the industry is looking to pitch itself at the reminding 20%.
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“There are still households that don’t buy avocados or buy them infrequently,” he said. “There’s still a lot of room to grow domestically.
“When they’re fantastic value, it’s a great opportunity to buy more. For all the good reasons we know – they’re incredibly nutritious and versatile, they make any meal better.”
A spokesperson for Woolworths said the supermarket was paying the market price for the fruits.
“We’re selling avocados for about $1.50 … that will move based on supply and demand (the usual market forces),” they said.
On Friday, Woolworths sold a five-pack of the fruit for $4.
A spokesperson for Coles would not say how much they are paying growers but that they were sourcing all their fresh avocados from Australia.
“We currently have an abundance of in-season avocados offering customers great value and a versatile addition to salads, smoothies, pasta, toast, and more,” they said.
“Coles currently has avocados available nationally for $1.30 each with 100% of fresh avocados sourced from Australian farmers.”