Avocados -supposedly abundant!

ABC Landline reported that Australia is on the brink of an Avocado Glut! However, my experience in the shops, is small overly priced fruit. Are the big retailers hiding the reality of what is on the farms to their benefit?
Is some exposure required? I say yes, and we need it now, rather than in the new year!


Not just avocados. Most fruit and vegetables seem to be consistently very expensive.


This is about avocados, and a report from the farmers about their abundant supply!

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@longinthetooth, I know what you mean. Occasionally I’ll see an Avocado with a massive seed or some other problem that won’t be revealed until it’s cut open. However, most of the time I find them to be alright.

It would be great to hear from others on the issue. Perhaps our @Health-Campaigner group can share their avocado experiences? Here are some tips on buying fresh fruit and veg that might also help out.

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Hi @longinthetooth

I believe I saw reports on Landline not too long ago about gluts of other fruit and vegetables (not sure of the context, but possibly emanating from farms recovering from devastating floods/cyclones?).

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Don’t forget that avocados are a very labour intensive crop, especially in the picking and grading stage. If labour makes a significant proportion of the avocados purchase price/cost ex-gate, then the volume changes are unlikely to change prices unless there is a major shortage (where demand expceeding supply pushes up prices).

They would only become cheap if farmers want to harvest and sell at a loss (after consideration of all costs including labour)…something I am sure they are unlikely to do.

It would be good if they were cheaper, as we would consume more…but then again, I also want to see the avocado farmers running a profitable business so they can continue to supply year on year.

It is also worth noting that avocardos are different to short season cash crops like tomatoes. Tomatoes flood the market and farmers are willing to sell below cost to recoup some of the costs associated with production…there are a lot of preharvest costs …proportionally higher than a long term multi-season/perennial tree crop where establishment costs can be spread over many years and loss of income over one year rather may be better than creating a loss through harvesting the crop.

The other thing farmers/wholesalers will do is chase the market which provides the higher returns. This may mean sending excessnsupply overseas. In such cases, the local market still may have usual supply thus maintaining historical prices for the avocados.


I understand the issues like labour intensive, and farmers getting a proper deal. Avos are fairly unique in that they don’t need to be picked the instant they are ready, as they don’t ripen on the tree, rather after picking.

My post came from a report of the supply industry itself! ABC Landline talking to the growers and their association.

What is the point of a consumer site?

Who controls the supply and pricing - the big retailers. I wonder if they are seemingly trying as usual to control the situation for their benefit, and no-one else’s. If I was Coles, Woolies, Aldi or IGA and I could control the supply and price through till Christmas, I think my bank balance would look good.

Maybe I am wrong, that instead it is the growers are controlling the market.

Either way, should the public be alerted, that the market is possibly being manipulated, controlling the supply, price and quality. ACA are better placed to check if my concern is valid. When could or should the abundant supply come onto the market?


Honest answer for a farmer to when the glut of fruit should come onto the market is probably never. This is a situation of supply and demand. If demand is high and supply is low price is at a premium and the businesses make money. This is not a monopoly but rather good market practice by lots of growers, some middlemen and certainly at the end of it retailers. Unless a retailer has a contract with a supply chain from grower to store warehouse they have little control over the supply.

Years ago one of my uncles grew a massive crop of pumpkins but so did every other grower in the region. They went to sell this huge crop but were offered very little, in fact so little it was way below the cost of even the seed used to grow them. What did they do? First they held off harvesting for the short period they could, then they just plowed the majority of the crops in. Went from a glut to near scarcity, at which point it was profitable to harvest. Point is that farmers sometimes are too successful for their own good and when this happens they may hold back product to keep prices inflated. They are somewhat insulated from a public backlash by the supply chain starting with retailers being held responsible for the prices, then the middlemen for their cut…the farmer is largely ignored by the public for the cost.

But you do raise the valid point that when retailers control the supply they can manipulate the market as well. For example the price of milk that was retailer branded and they set a cost that was even below what a dairy could survive on.

I don’t think in this case it is the retailer who is manipulating or perhaps the majority manipulator but rather I think it is the farmers who realise their profits are at risk if they flood the market.

Well yes and no. The yes part is they can last on the trees, some up to 8 months and this is a good way of storage as it doesn’t incur many on-going costs. But the no is equally valid in that tomatoes, bananas and some other fruits and produce can be stored in ways that allow them to last for, in some cases, years. Controlled temps, controlled atmospheres, chemical sprays & dips are some of these ways. Tomatoes are generally picked green as are bananas and they are then stored in particular temps and even gases such as high nitrogen atmospheres that inhibit the aging/ripening. When required they are gassed with Ethylene (C2H4, also known as ethene) and this starts the ripening process. Wheat at below 10% moisture can be safely kept for years with little or no deterioration in quality, other grains are similar.

Avos do not store well at all in cold before they are ripened and so they are at a disadvantage to some other produce when a glut occurs.


My point about the picking, is that they don’t require the same organisation of labour to pick the whole crop, it is a potentially a more controlled process, it is different to the needs as you outline for other fruit needs for post picking processes.

Regarding the actual abundance and the implicit supply. I’m not saying it is so, or is not fact. What i am saying is the the growers were reporting potential abundance and glut, yet that is not apparent in the market to me as a consumer.

Discussing a consumer issue on a consumer website, is very different to a growers association discussing their concerns, tactics and issues, something one would expect such an org to do for their members, just as choice is about representing consumers!

I think it highly appropriate for ACA to check this out, ie, remove the guesswork. When will the abundance appear in the market, is any group trying to manipulate the Avo market, and is it in the consumers’ interest?


Yes they did report it but I still stand by my comments above that sometimes the farmers, for what ever reason, 1.) do not wish to sell the product and 2.) do not want to get the blame.

When will the abundance appear in the market? It may never appear in the market.

Is the market being manipulated, yes. Is this illegal deceptive conduct? Maybe as it depends on who is doing it. If it is the farmer then no they are just controlling the supply they send to the market to influence the returns they get and that is totally their choice. Is it the retailers or the middlemen then yes it could be. Will Choice look into it? That would depend on their priorities, with which I am not very familiar though I do follow their many campaigns. By raising the issue here it may instigate investigations. Will the ACCC look into it? Again perhaps as it may be like the milk issue with a possible unfair leverage/control being applied to the producer.

Finally is the manipulation in the consumers interest? Possibly yes and possibly no. Why yes? Because if farmers and or their organisation are ensuring they get the best return so that they continue to prosper and can continue to farm then consumers benefit as they do get the food (perhaps at a higher price but still they get it).

Why no? Well if it is not of benefit to the farmers and at the same time not of benefit to the consumer then it is probably illegal price fixing by intermediaries.

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I love the things but the ones we get here in the never never are usually like bullets and turn almost instantly to black mush with no warning. I reckon the heat/dry must be unkind to them - down south they were much friendlier to buy …


Just in case you didn’t know that if they are ripe you can store them for a few days in the fridge…this will slow but not stop them turning to mush. We lived in the middle of the NT and the Avos we got sometimes seemed to ripen in about 5 mins and turn to rubbish in 10 mins…ok exaggeration. But it was fast, we learnt to quickly get the flesh out and freeze it in ice cube trays and once frozen bag the cubes in vacuum sealed bags…It lasts about 2 months but because of the oils I wouldn’t like to go longer than that as they seem to change even when frozen. Your mileage may vary but it will allow you a bit of Avo goodness when needed.

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They also store in the freezer almost indefinitely as a whole fruit if you get them before they ripen. Got a bumper crop out of my Avacado tree this year: something like about 350. Giving them away everywhere (including to many of my work colleagues here at Choice), but still had to keep some and this will last us for at least 6 months like that.


This is no different to any other business. They don’t often produce at maximum capacity to flood the whole of the narket with their product. Such could cause a significant discount which is not in the interest of the manufacturer. Instead, they adjust their production based on the demand for their products. If there is a marketing or sales campaign, they would increase production to meet the forecast demand. They also may reduce supply of one product and concentrate on other products which have higher demand.

This is basic economic therory and the farmers are effectiveky doing the same to prevent either over abundance in the market place pushing down prices which may rob them of a profit or to supply quantities which meet the market demand.

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Today in a news article on the price of Avocados were some comments by the Avocados Australia chief executive John Tyas which support my supposition that the surplus will not hit the markets and create a price drop. In his comments there was this “The long and short is that supply will be fairly steady. It could even be a bit short in the first quarter of next year. Supplies might run a bit light into February” and this “The supplies are going to be fairly steady and demand is fairly strong. We’ll try and keep it stable. We don’t like huge gluts or shortages.”. So it would seem that the farmers are controlling the market fairly well and will not allow a glut on the market to occur and are thus keeping prices at a level they like.

@grahroll I’ve stored them in the fridge before, but no, I wasn’t aware you could freeze them effectively and no @jcouch I didn’t know you could freeze them whole! 350 - wow!


You could have advertised them here as I would have taken at least 10-20 off your hands. Would hate to see them wasted…but I suppose if freezing works (didn’t know about this), then they will be saved for a rainy day. Would be interested to see how the frozen ones go compared to fresh (non-frozen ones).


Does it matter what variety you freeze? As most of ours in the NT when we were there were the Reed Variety and the flesh didn’t seem to like going past about 2 mths in the freezer without some texture and taste change. Hass and similar we didn’t see them much so can’t really comment on them. Also ours were not frozen whole as most were ripe or almost so on arrival so freezing whole fruit was not part of our consideration.

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I have no idea what type of Avocados I have as the plant came “free” with a hangar I purchased on an airport. Some of ours are approaching 6 months in the freezer now and, after defrosting, will ripen like normal and just like fresh off the tree. If anyone is good at identifying them, here’s a photo of some harvested ones:

Facebook Photo.


I’m not with avocados, but usually fruit varieties are hard to identify just by photo. Maybe this website might assist you in identifying the variety.. There are other websites to assist with identifying if you google avocado varieties,