Avocado prices have spiked to over $3 each after a moderate New Zealand growing season and surging demand.

A strong export market has also been putting upward pressure on prices, and NZ Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular said promotion of the health benefits of the fruit was starting to bite.

"We have had a moderate crop this year and what's really positive is that we have done a lot of work promoting the health benefits of avocado," Scoular said. According to NZ Avocado research, an additional 90,000 households were buying avocados this season, she said.

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Scoular said that while it had been a moderate season, production had not been at its lowest.

"We are aware that demand for avocados has increased significantly," she said.

New Zealand exports about 65 per cent of its avocado crop over the export season - which runs from August through to February. The season finishes on April 30.

At present, the production is part of the "shoulder" of the season where avocados are still being harvested. About 60 per cent of the crop is grown in the Bay of Plenty, 35 per cent in Northland and 5 per cent in the rest of the country.

Production for the 2015-16 season is expected to come to 3.9m 5.5kg tray equivalents, compared with 7.1m in 2014-15, 4.9m in 2013-14 and 2.6m in 2012-13.

Scoular said NZ Avocado's biggest focus within its research programme is to better understand and mitigate irregular production.

James Mclean, owner of Simply Fresh supermarket in Hillcrest, on Auckland's North Shore, said prices started to come off after hitting $3.00 each. He said the price of avocadoes had been high for the past 6 months.

"There's been strong export money for growers and a bit of a shortage."
McLean said avocados were not scarce, just expensive to buy.