Industry expert says avocado prices won't drop

Industry expert says avocado prices won't drop


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While many smashed avo fans will have been cheering the news overnight that avocado prices are set to drop, their excitement will be short lived.

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While many smashed avo fans will have been cheering the news overnight that avocado prices are set to drop, their excitement will be short-lived.

Many outlets were reporting that avocado prices are set to almost halve, but an industry expert has said that such a price drop is unlikely.

"Its nonsense. I don't know why people are saying that," Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas said. "With all the indications that I can see, I can't see it happening."

He said many outlets had reported that prices would be cheaper because they misread the market.

"The reason I say we won't see a price drop is that there's confusion about what's going on. Although Australia's supply forecast is up, New Zealand's is down 50 per cent.

"The long and short is that supply will be fairly steady. It could even be a bit short in the first quarter of next year. Supplies might run a bit light into February."

He said that the industry tried to keep supply consistent throughout the year.

"The supplies are going to be fairly steady and demand is fairly strong. We'll try and keep it stable. We don't like huge gluts or shortages."

Retail avocado prices climbed close to $4 each at Coles at the end of October, the highest they had been all year.

Prices are now about $3.50 each, which will probably remain steady through most of the summer.

Mr Tyas said that, although supply could be short in February, he wouldn't speculate on whether that shortage would be reflected in the retail prices.

"I don't want to speculate because it depends on the flow of fruit. It's a bit hard to say but it's just something to be aware of."

Mr Tyas said that avocado production would continue to grow in the next few years: 75,000 tonnes of the fruit is expected to hit the supermarkets in 2017-18, an increase on last year's 66,000 tonnes.

"The good news is there are a lot of trees in ground," he said.

"Avocados are just going to become more and more abundant. A third of the trees in the ground are less than six years old and not yet at their maturity."

Mr Tyas said that the growing popularity of avocados meant that people were eating them all year round.

"Usually we find demand is strong in the spring, summer months but, this last year, demand remained very strong all year. People are using them more frequently and in a wider range of dishes."

Avocados have become an unexpected source of blame for young people being unable to enter the housing market.

Demographer Bernard Salt said that young people's obsession with the fruit meant they weren't able to afford a deposit.

"I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more," he wrote in The Australian in October last year. "Twenty-two dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house."

Last year, 430 million avocados were eaten in Australia, Mr Tyas said.

Sydney Morning Herald.

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