America is in love with avocados.
The country’s appetite for the creamy versatile fruit (yes, avocados are fruit) has grown just about every year for the past 15 years, according to data from the Hass Avocado Board, invading kitchens and menus across the country. The rise is such that sales of Hass avocados, which make up more than 95 percent of all avocados consumed in the United States, soared to a record of nearly 1.9 billion pounds (or some 4.25 billion avocados) last year, more than double the amount consumed in 2005, and nearly four times as many sold in 2000.
Once a rare treat, enjoyed only by cities on the west coast fortunate enough to sell fresh fruit when they were in season, avocados can now be found year round piled high at supermarkets nationwide, on restaurant menus in even the most remote towns, and in Subway sandwiches across the country.
“The demand has just been incredible,” said Emiliano Escobedo, director of the Hass Avocado Board. “I think avocados are pretty much mainstream at this point.”
Why the sudden outpouring of love for avocados? A few reasons stand out.
The most tangible explanation is that the rise of avocados in the United States comes on the heels of loosened import restrictions, which used to ban shipments of the fruit from Mexico. The restrictions were problematic, because Mexico was (and still is) the world’s largest producer. Without the supply, all of avocados the United States consumed instead came from California, which couldn’t grow them year round or consistently put fresh ones on supermarket shelves outside of the west coast.