Are We Living Through the Great Avocado Shortage of 2016?

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Horrors! Is your avocado toast addiction in danger? Will you soon have to go cold turkey and suffer whatever effects of withdrawal come with it? The shakes? The cravings? The hunger screaming from deep in your soul?

Thanks to the effects of El Nino, which produced droughts that weakened trees and lowered fruit harvests in key areas, and a strike by Mexican avocado farmers seeking higher pay, the U.S. avocado supply is struggling to keep up with demand, which has climbed in recent years as Americans’ appetite for avocados has grown. (We used to consume about 1 pound per person here in the U.S.; now per capita consumption is closer to 5 pounds, Southern California public radio station KPCC reports.)

Calling it “the great avocado shortage,” the San Francisco Chronicle noted that while at this time last year about 45 million pounds of avocados per week were flowing into the United States from Mexico, this October that number was down to only about 8.5 million pounds a week, according to data from the Hass Avocado Board.

As a result, prices in some parts of the U.S. have skyrocketed, and some restaurants have stopped serving the delicious spreadable fruit, removing things like guacamole, avocado toast and avocado sandwich toppings from their menus. (One exception: Chipotle, although of course the chain’s customers are used to paying extra for guacamole.)

The good news is that, though it may take some time, the shortage is expected to ease, and we can all go back to scarfing down our avocado toast with impunity.

Addiction … back on.

Photo: iStock