Smashed avocado brunches could be on the menu this summer as farmers predict a record harvest.
The bumper crop could drive down the price of avocados, which are currently selling for around $3.50 at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.
In 2016, restricted supply forced prices up to $6 a piece.
John Tyas, CEO of the industry’s peak body, Avocados Australia, said Australian farmers were set to produce a record 75,000 tonnes in 2017/18. The industry was aiming to grow 100,000 tonnes by 2025, he said.
“There should be plenty of avocado to go around,” Mr Tyas told The New Daily.
Still, this year’s record harvest won’t satisfy Australia’s appetite for the creamy fruit.
“Australians ate about 86,000 tonnes of avocados in the past 12 months, cementing their place among the highest consumers of avocados in the English-speaking world.”
The average Australian ate 3.5 kilograms of avocado in 2016/17, up from 3.2 kilograms the previous year.
But Mr Tyas wasn’t convinced supply would outpace demand and push down prices.
“Australia will have solid supplies through the rest of spring and summer, but we’re also seeing a very strong demand,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the avocado price is driven by supply and demand and we do find that demand tends to be stronger in the summer months.”
Mr Tyas said Australia tended to rely on New Zealand avocados through spring and summer to meet demand, but that local growers had significantly increased plantings to fill demand throughout the year.
Avocados Australia has also been working to establish markets in Japan, Thailand and China to increase exports “so that when domestic production does exceed domestic demand, we’re ready”.
“We know domestic demand is solid, but we also know we’re going to need additional markets as production continues to increase.”
A spokesperson from Barham Avocados said the New South Wales-based producers was not expecting oversupply for extended periods.
“There’ll be ups and downs every year, but we’re not expecting a glut in the near future,” the spokesperson said.
“I don’t think they’ll necessarily fall overall but they might stop rising.”
The spokesperson said the whole industry had planted more trees to respond to growing demand.
“I don’t think our love of avos is going anywhere. They’re definitely not a fad. There’s no substitute for avocados.”
A shortage in the supply of avocados in New Zealand in 2016 led to a mini crime wave, with avocados traded on the black market to local markets and sushi shops.
There were about 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards in the country’s North Island between January and June last year, with up to 350 fruit stolen each time.
Prices in NZ surged from an average of $A1.56 each in May 2015, to $A4.26 in May 2016.