The price of avocados continues to soar, out of reach for many shoppers.

Prices for the popular fruit have now officially surpassed the $10 mark - noted as an all time - and now can be bought for an eye-watering $12.50 a piece.

Auckland greengrocer Jack Lum & Co located in Remuera was selling avocado at $12.50 for one yesterday, though it is now selling them at $10.99 each as the store owner could not stomach selling them at such a hefty price tag.

Jack Lum & Co owner Jack Lum told the Herald supply for avocados was at an all-time low, and the prices he can buy them for vary day-to-day.

Advertisement

"It costs anything from $7-$8 plus GST so that takes them up to about $10 each," he said.

Lum, who has been in business and running the shop for 49 years, buys 50 avocados from Market Gardeners in Mt Wellington for $450.

The Herald understands Turners & Growers has not had stock of avocados for a few weeks.

Jack Lum & Co aims for a 30 per cent margin on the fruits, but Lum said this is not possible currently: "Most times these days you don't even make anything."

The quality of many avocados coming through were not up to the mark meaning he could not sell them for what they were bought for and had to be discounted, he said.

Lum said the price for avocados unexpectedly shot up to all-time highs around three weeks ago. Growers and suppliers do not expect prices to come down until July when the next crop is ready for harvest.

Some fruit and vegetable stores in some regions currently do not stock avocados as the supply is so low and they were unable to secure the produce, Lum said.

He had not seen retail prices of avocados higher than $12 in the 49 years he had been in business, Lum said.

"I only had $12.50 a piece there for one day and I said 'I don't want to sell it for that price', I'd rather lose money than make money on it," Lum said.

"It's the first time they have been so high over the $10 mark. Normally every year when the prices shoot up they go to around $8.99."

New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular said avocado prices fluctuated throughout the season according to crop volumes.

"We have recently had a medium volume season and supply is particularly low at the moment," Scoular said. "There is a very low supply of avocados in New Zealand right now as we are outside of the main season. They are a seasonal fruit, which means there is limited supply during the winter months. However, we expect to see new season Hass avocados available from late July."

Edmundo Farrera, owner of Mexican restaurant La Fuente in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Edmundo Farrera, owner of Mexican restaurant La Fuente in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Scoular said the industry was responding to increased demand and investing heavily into new plantings of avocados which would be ready to harvest in the next two years.

Auckland Mexican restaurant La Fuente has felt the sting of increasing avocado prices, so much so that it had to axe a popular guacamole dish from its menu.

La Fuente co-owner Edmundo Farrera said he took the dish off the menu as he did not want to pass increasing costs on to the consumer.

He said prices have catapulted from $1 to $2, then $2.50 to around $4.50 per fruit. Ordinarily, the restaurant would buy a single avocado from suppliers for between 50 cents and $1.

La Fuente's guacamole dish cost around $14 but that would have increased to more than $20 if it had been kept on the menu, Farrera said.

"I've been in the restaurant business for 26 years... the prices of avocado seem to be a bit drastic when they jump. I think growers should be a little bit more considerate to businesses. In Mexico, back home, we also move with the season but we've never had such a jump in prices."

Avocados are known to fluctuate in price, though not so drastically or so early into the season. In June 2017, avocados reached an all-time high of $7.50 a piece in some parts of the country. This month they have surpassed that drastically.

New Zealand does not import avocados due to the risk of biosecurity threats.