In the past few years, avocados have become a staple on supermarket shelves and in recipes. Both creamy and filling, they instantly elevate a bland salad or a dry sandwich to juicy perfection. Avocados have even achieved celebrity status among television stars and singers such as Antoni Porowski from "Queer Eye", Chrissy Teigen, and Jason Mraz who tends to his own avocado farm. Recently, Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank invested $400,000 in an avocado only restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. Yet this popular revolution has led to an unfortunate conclusion—avocados are expensive and their prices keep surging. Why did this happen and are there any ways to alleviate these costs?

Avocados In the World

Avocados are popular around the world, especially in Mexico. Currently, Mexico dominates as the global importer of avocados with an astonishing 60 percent share of the market. According to the Calfornia Avocado Commission, Mexico exported about 2.14 billion pounds of avocado in 2017 to the United States. On the other hand, California, the next largest producer of avocados, only produced 300 million pounds of avocados exports in 2016. On top of this, California is also the biggest avocado consumer in the United States. According to a Washington Post article from 2015, Los Angeles consumed around 293 million avocados alone, followed by 119 million avocados in New York City. All these facts show one thing: The avocado market is booming. But what does this mean for the rising prices?

Rising Popularity Equals Rising Prices

Despite the massive popularity of this green plant, the price of avocados can often seem unreasonable. When droughts, heavy rain, and excruciating heat swept through California in late 2017, the national average price of avocados jumped significantly to $1.25. In comparison to 77 cents in May 2017, this rise is fairly significant. Now in 2018, Quartz reported that the cost of one kilogram of avocados in Mexico is equivalent to the minimum wage for a Mexican worker, 80 pesos ($4.50). This prevents many Mexican families from purchasing avocados and using them in their recipes. As a tragically ironic result, the consumption of avocados in certain countries such as Mexico is slowly decreasing.

Because of the fluctuating avocado supply chain, restaurants have marked up the prices of avocado add-ins or guacamole. While prices have gone up, Americans still seem eager to demand more avocados and pay the high prices. During the California off-season, Mexico is one of the few places that are continually cultivating Haas avocados. As a result, price increases in the United States will continue to be a key part of the avocado market.

Enough about the facts, tell me how I can get avocados for less!

The best way to get avocados for cheaper would be to grow your own. Thankfully, there are many online resources to help you get started. A popular avocado growing tool, called AvoSeedo, ensures that your pit will soak in the perfect amount of water. So before you throw out that extra avocado seed in the trash, remember how much you could save by growing your own avocado tree! And if you can't wait that long for an avocado tree to sprout, you can always just buy your own.

While home-grown avocado trees are one pathway to cheap avocados, there's no secret on how to get avocados from the grocery store for less. This is because the avocado market continues to fluctuate based on the weather and trade relationships between countries. Yet, not all grocery stores are created equal. While organic avocados are significantly pricier than non-organic options, Whole Foods sells organic avocados at fair prices. And according to Instacart, other chains such as Smart & Final also have Haas avocado deals that reach as low as 99 cents.

The most important part of saving money on avocados involves learning about avocado storage. Until Bill Gates-backed Apeel Sciences rolls out their long-lasting avocados with an organic second skin beyond the Midwest, customers will have to rely on proven science. Avocados ripen extremely quickly, so grocery shopping and storage must be deliberate and tactical. You can test the ripeness of the avocado just by examining the color of its skin, stem, and softness. Furthermore, remember to store your unripe avocados in paper bags, ripe avocados in the fridge, and open avocados with lemon juice.

Making an avocado toast photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 (@charlesdeluvio) on Unsplash

Unsplash on unsplash

As long as sandwiches and salads reign in California and other states, avocados will continue to grow in popularity and price. Accordingly, customers will have to accept rising prices, consider growing avocados as an economical option, and master the art of avocado storage at home. With a burst of new knowledge, the world can start using avocados more effectively, efficiently, and deliciously.