Avocados are experiencing a sudden shortage in the market, as New Zealand bandits have been reportedly stealing the delicious creamy fruit. In the past five months, 40 large-scale thefts from New Zealand’s orchards have been reported, with 350 avocados being stolen at a time.
Crime is surging through New Zealand and the international demand for avocados continues to rise. Due to the shortage, avocados are selling for $4 to $7 each. As a result of the thefts, the orchards have lost about a quarter of their crop for the year. John Tyas, the chief executive of Avocados Australia warns that it may be “hard for growers to keep up with local demand.”
The stolen avocados are sold at small roadside shops, local sushi spots, and households. Due to the shortage and soaring demand for avocados, the avocado thieves are making significant profits. However, they may not be the best choice for buyers. The stolen avocados tend to be unripe and their skin carries toxins since a lot of them were recently sprayed, resulting in dangerous health risks if eaten.
Avocado lovers are at stake since, according Heath Shoup, an avocado packinghouse, “there are not enough avocados in the industry right now to supply the demand.” The increasing price rate of avocados has risen from 46% to 87% just in the past few months. Food companies such as Chipotle use a significant amount of avocados every day, and will be hurt by the rising shortage of avocados. New Zealand farmers are fighting back by installing alarm systems and automatic lights, in hopes of catching the avocado bandits.