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Avocado prices soar as demand increases
By Li Anlan

The price of avocado in Shanghai has been a shocker of late. De- mand globally is outstripping supply and prices are rising.

At blt supermarket this week, a package of three avocados was priced at over 113 yuan (US$18), or almost 38 yuan each.

At city’super, avocado prices reached 32 yuan each last Friday and then dropped to 29 yuan, that compares with 19 yuan each in prior months.

Qiang Kun Fruit Mart on Yuyuan Road is charging 15 yuan for one avocado, down from 18 yuan last week, a vendor there said.

When buying avocados, you have to be careful not to pick fruit that is over- ripe as it will be turning brown inside. Also avoid fruit that is abnormally hard as it was probably harvested too early and will never ripen properly. The best avocados are firm, with only a slight hint of softness when gently squeezed.

Of course, you can’t do that when buying online, where prices are a little cheaper. Kate & Kimi has the lowest price at 12 yuan each for an unripe avocado, while Tablelife is selling two for 36 yuan.

California, a major avocado producer, is suffering a prolonged drought. About 95 percent of its crop goes to the US market. With production down, suppliers are looking to Mexico and Peru to fill orders, which has driven prices up.

The news from Mexico hasn’t been positive for avocados. According to a www.vocativ.com story entitled “Blood Avocados: The Dark Side of Your Guacamole,” a cartel calling itself the Knights Templar has infiltrated the billion-dollar avocado industry, forcing prices up. China imports most of its avocados from Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. This year, Peruvian avocados have also gained access to the Chinese market.

The avocado is a latecomer to the Chinese palate. Thirty years ago, there wasn’t an avocado to be found on the mainland. But with the opening of the Chinese economy, Western tastes came along with investment and technology.

The avocado is the star of Western brunch menus. A simple avocado spread onto a piece of toast is not only tasty but also colorful. Guacamole dip, made from avocado, is popular in Mexican cuisine and trendy social gatherings.

In the last four years, imports of avocado into China have increased 126-fold, and the average price has dropped from about 20 yuan in 2008.

More Chinese consumers have developed a taste for the fruit, which can be used in salads, pasta dishes or simply grilled on skewers. Many people simply prefer to eat the fruit, with a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, by spooning it out of the rind.

Avocados are also considered good skin moisturizers. Some shampoos and facial creams advertise avocado content. Some mothers choose to feed infants the fruit because it is easy to digest and is packed with nutrients.

Also called the “alligator pear” by the Chinese, the avocado is native to Mexico and Central America. It’s packed with healthy unsaturated fat. 


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