There’s a shortage of avocados in South Africa – and you can expect to pay R25 for one, if you can find it

Business Insider SA
  • There is a seasonal shortage of avocados in South African stores, causing much frustration among healthy eaters.
  • Avocado harvests usually only start later this month.
  • Until then, be prepared to pay upwards of R50 for two avocados.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA's home page.

A seasonal shortage of avocados is making life difficult (and much more expensive) for some South Africans to get their green fix.

There is presently a shortage of avocados as they are out of season, says Derek Donkin, CEO of SA Subtropical Growers’ Association.

The South African avocado season runs from mid to late February to October. There are some production regions in SA where avocados can be harvested from November to January, but they only represent a small portion of the crop, Donkin told Business Insider SA.

On its website, Woolworths warned that it is experiencing supply shortages. “We are working hard to resolve this, and apologise for the temporary inconvenience.”

Some social media users have been chronicling their frustrating attempts to find avocados:

Source: Reddit

“Forgive me for my First World Problem. But seriously, Woolies haven't had stock of avos for a while. Family members are starting to perish, dehydrate, limbs are falling off, getting nervous tics, organs are malfunctioning,” one  Reddit user complained on the platform this week.

When you do get your hands on the green gold, be prepared to pay up.

At Woolworths, a two-pack of ripe avocados will set you back R54.99, while at Pick n Pay you can get two for R49.99.

This is a far cry from prices seen in March last year, when you could get an avo – though admittedly not “ripe and ready” – at Shoprite for less than R7:

Avocados on sale for R6.99 each at Shoprite in March last year.

Still while the temporary supply squeeze is causing pain in some South African households, locals have largely been spared the big increases in avocado prices in the rest of the world.

An insatiable demand for avocados – which has earned its status as a "superfood" due to its nutrient-density (it contains healthy monounsaturated fat, potassium, vitamin E and  antioxidants) - has driven up prices. Weak harvests in Mexico, which delivers 45% of the world’s output, have caused prices in the US to double between 2018 and 2019.

Local price hikes have been more subdued thanks to South Africa being the world's eighth biggest producer of avocados, which (usually) ensures a steady supply in the domestic market.  

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