Published 7:00 AM EDT Sep 14, 2019
After a summer of record-high avocado prices, consumers are now forking over less green for the fatty fruit.
In time for National Guacamole Day Monday, the average national price of a Haas avocado was $1.16 Friday down from $2.10 July 5, according to the most recent Department of Agriculture weekly retail price report.
The wholesale price for mid-sized avocados from Mexico have also decreased more than 50% from the early July spike, said David Magaña, vice president and senior analyst at Rabobank based in Fresno, California. The wholesale price for a 25-pound box is now about $40, down from $84.25 in July, Magaña said.
A growing demand, a smaller California crop and seasonal production in Mexico fueled the temporary pricing crisis.
“Prices are back to normal levels,” Magaña said Friday. “That’s what we were expecting as the Mexican harvest season is now ramping up and at full production.”
July record high prices: Avocado prices are skyrocketing, but it’s not because of tariffs
Impact of high avocado prices: With price increase some restaurants take guac off menus
Changes in Chipotle guac
The nation’s nearly 60 million pounds of weekly avocado demand also created shortages, said Harold Edwards, president and CEO of Limoneira, a Santa Paula, California-based producer of citrus and avocados.
In the summer, some restaurants took avocados off menus temporarily while other restaurants added surcharges.
As the seasons change, some consumers also have noticed a difference in Chipotle’s guacamole with many taking to social media to complain about brown guac and hard or stringy avocados.
“When I ordered guac and chips with my delivery order I didn’t expect the guac to be completely brown except for 1 little area of green,” Twitter user @magseb tweeted. “So disappointing. Texture is super gross too.”
Some Chipotle customers have reported some restaurants were out of guac.
A Twitter account created in August @GuacSave has been tweeting and retweeting disappointed Chipotle fans with a handful of tweets about avocado pits.
“Four weeks ago Chipotle told their supplier to get the cheap avocados,” the account that also goes by #SaveTheGuac wrote in its Twitter bio. “We don’t want no sloppy, stringy, hard, bland avocados.”
Chipotle spokesperson Laurie Schalow addressed the variabilities in a statement sent to USA TODAY.
“Due to the seasonal transition from Peruvian to Mexican suppliers that happens every year at this time, we are experiencing normal variabilities in our avocados but we can assure our customers that our guac is still being freshly prepared in our restaurants every day,” Schalow said.
Will prices stay low?
Almost 90% of avocados come from Mexico with the peak season from November to April. Mexico is the top supplier of fruits and vegetables to the U.S., with $13 billion imported from the country last year.
Plate IQ, a software restaurant platform, predicts prices will trend down in mid-September.
“We could see prices remain at this level for the rest of the year unless there’s something that disrupts supplies,” Magaña said.
With such heavy reliance on the Mexican crop, Magaña said, if a disruption were to happen, such as a hurricane, it could have “a significant impact on avocado prices.”
National Guacamole Day deals
The deals Monday aren’t as fruitful as other national days. Offers can vary by location and quantities are usually while supplies last.
Chipotle: Not a Guacamole Day deal, but an ongoing special. When you join Chipotle Rewards get a reward for free guacamole and chips after you make your first purchase of $5 or more. Join at www.chipotle.com/rewards.
El Fenix: Get a $1 guacamole appetizer with entree purchase at all locations Monday with a coupon that will be posted Monday at www.elfenix.com/Offers.
Qdoba Mexican Eats: Customers can add free guacamole and free queso to their entree everyday not just on National Guacamole Day at participating locations of the fast casual chain.
Rubio’s Coastal Grill: Get free chips and guacamole with any purchase Monday at participating locations with a coupon at www.rubios.com.
Wholly Guacamole: The refrigerated guacamole brand is giving away free guacamole for a year to five winners. Details of the contest will be posted Monday on these influencer Instagram accounts: @andi_dorfman, @Costco_DoesItAgain,
@TargetDoesItAgain and @walmartfinds.
Guacamole fun facts
Between May and September, Uber Eats noticed a 20% increase in the popularity of guacamole and 30% increase in popularity of avocados in the same time period.
According to data from ezCater, a nationwide network for business catering with more than 60,000 restaurants, clients ordered a whopping 99% more guacamole this year than last year.
The top five states for ordering — California, New York, Texas, Illinois and Georgia — “consume half the workplace guac in the country,” ezCater found.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko