Mexico's economic crisis is forcing the country to think about how much people spend on food, and the rising cost of avocados has become a particularly sore point. The devaluation of the Mexican peso against the US dollar, rising energy prices, and a host of other macroeconomic factors mean that Mexicans are especially sensitive about the cost of foods most essential to Mexican cuisine.
The avocado is one of the fundamental ingredients in this cuisine. Avocados can be the base of a dish (guacamole, for example) or something added (to a sandwich, enchiladas, tostadas, flautas, or even soups, as in tortilla soup). Salsa verde, which is used in countless dishes, also usually contains avocado.
Currently, avocados can be found at $80.00 Mexican pesos (approximately US$4.20 or €3.70) per kilo (2.2 pounds), which is slightly double what Mexicans usually pay for this product. Meanwhile, the minimum wage in Mexico is $73.04 pesos per workday—an amount that's supposed to meet all the nutritional needs of a person and their family.
The website Pictoline shared the following infographic to explain the rising price:
Bueno, sí; mucho chiste, mucho meme, pero…
¿Por qué está tan caro el aguacate? pic.twitter.com/F64xM7cJOX
— pictoline (@pictoline) July 5, 2016
[In the image] Yes, lots of jokes but… Why are avocados getting to be so expensive? As you know, products rise in price for many reasons. Demand: If everyone wants avocados, they get more expensive. Supply: If there are barely any avocados, they become even more expensive. Input: If production/distribution costs rise, avocados get more expensive. In this case, [the rise in the prices happens] because Mexico runs out of its biggest harvest and the next one is not ready. [If there are] a lot fewer avocados—[then they're] a lot more expensive. It is expected that by late July a new harvest will arrive and the costs will come back down. Meanwhile…
Some Twitter users have reacted to the price increase with humor. iQueCabr0n, for instance, bragged that he could still afford the new delicacy:
Comiéndome una tortilla y un aguacate, porque cuando ganas en dólares te puedes dar ciertos lujos.
— ¡Ay Qué Cabrón! (@iQueCabr0n) July 12, 2016
Eating a tortilla and an avocado, because when you get paid in dollars, you can afford certain luxuries.
Similarly, Twitter user andii_rz said:
Hoy andamos de manteles largos, me voy a comer un taquito de aguacate 🌯
— andii andii (@andii_rz) July 3, 2016
We're celebrating today, so I'm going to eat an avocado taquito.
Sr.Aguilar, meanwhile, joked about the turning the now-rare avocado into Mexico's legal tender:
Si el aguacate vale más que el dolar; ¿no estaría bien convertirlo en moneda nacional? #nolotieneniObama
— Sr.Aguilar (@G_AguilarGomez) July 3, 2016
If avocados are worth more than the dollar, wouldn't it be a good idea to make it the national currency? #evenObamadoesnthaveit
The newspaper Milenio shared some telling infographics about avocado consumption in Mexico:
¿Cómo comemos #aguacate los mexicanos? 🍴 https://t.co/IrFMly0S5G pic.twitter.com/BYL4SHkouu
— Milenio.com (@Milenio) July 9, 2016
How do we Mexicans eat #avocado?
Nearly four years ago, Global Voices reported about a disruption in Mexico's egg supply, which sent prices soaring. Back then, rising costs led to commercial speculation and malpractice, which in turn cultivated a vicious cycle of distrust with consumers. Mexico's avocado vendors will look to avoid similar bad blood now.