Australia in midst of avocado shortage

Article by Olivia Lambert / /
January 23, 2016 /
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IT IS hipster tradition to sip macchiatos in a Melbourne laneway on a Saturday morning while tucking into some overpriced smashed avocado on toast.

But soon, the delectable eat could be stripped from menus due to what can only be described as an avocado crisis.
Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas said growers were struggling to keep up with the demand, which has skyrocketed in the past decade.

The price of avocados in Melbourne especially have been jacked up, with one supermarket even selling them for a whopping $6 each.

“Currently we don’t have the supply for the demand,” Mr Tyas said.

“In the last decade people have started to realise it’s a superfood and in summer especially they are harder to come by.

“People want to use them in their salads and it’s a food that cannot easily be substituted.”

Mr Tyas said each person was eating about 3.2 kilograms of avocado every year.

Australia sources its avocados from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and even New Zealand, and Mr Tyas said weather had affected production.

“There has been some wet weather, which impacts on the quality of the fruit, and there have been some delays in Western Australia because of the fires, it slowed down transport,” he said.

“The conditions for growing in Victoria are also challenging.”

Melbourne University’s pop-culture expert Lauren Rosewarne said avocado smashed on toast was one of those culinary inventions Australians believe they made up.

“Having our national dish taken away from us leaves us very few options,” she said.

“It does however give people time to think about whether paying $17 for avocado smashed on bread was misguided in the first place.”

Dr Rosewarne said people in Melbourne got into a pattern of eating avocado and toast on the weekend and said it was a versatile meal that could be consumed by hipsters, vegans, gluten-free dieters and halal eaters.

“Cafes are either going to hike their prices for the holy grail avocados they manage to find or not have them at all,” she said.

Dr Rosewarne said smashed avocado on toast had been a big part of our lives.

“Along with using milk crates for chairs at a cafe, there will be avocado on toast on the menu and that’s a guarantee,” she said.
“I’m sure when you get your bank loan to open a cafe, you must have to agree to those terms.”

While this idea of an avocado shortage may inject fear into avocado-lovers, Dr Rosewarne said Australia was a resilient country.

“We lived through the banana crisis and we are resilient people when it comes to cafe calamities, this is one of those and we will survive but we may have to change our order,” Dr Rosewarne said.

She predicts beans on toast will become the next big thing.

“A lot of hipster cafes are looking for foods that cater to those who are vegan and a lot are embracing cuisine from America’s south,” she said.

“You can also charge a lot for beans on toast at a cafe so there would be a good profit margin.”

Mr Tyas said the avocado shortage would persist for a couple of months, but said people could expect their daily dose to return by April.

Avocado growers have also planted extra trees to keep up with the demand in years to come.