Avocado Black Market Thrives in Response to New Zealand's Crop Shortage


What would you do for a Klondike bar an avocado? 

An avocado shortage in New Zealand has led some enterprising thieves to steal avocados from farms, the Guardian reported. 

In New Zealand, avocados currently retail for quite a pretty penny — roughly $2.80 to $4.20, due to a poor crop last season and a skyrocketing demand. That's much more expensive than U.S. prices. Avocados sold for an average of $1.10 in New York in 2016, according to the Hass Avocado Board

Avo-robbers are snatching up to 350 fruit (yes, avocados are fruit) at a time; there have been 40 large-scale avocado orchard robberies since January. It's likely other thefts have gone unreported, the Guardian reported. 

How might one swipe avocados from an orchard? It's not quite an Ocean's Eleven-style operation. 


In the darkness of night, burglars "rake" the fruits from trees into a blanket spread out on the ground. They then pick up the blanket and hightail it out of there. 

"It's an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don't think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly [organized] operation here, more opportunistic," Jen Scoular, New Zealand Avocado CEO, told the Guardian

But buyer beware when it comes to black market avocados: Illegally obtained avocados are unripe and might have toxins on the skin still, Sgt. Aaron Fraser of Waihi, with New Zealand police, noted. 

Is toxic guacamole better than no guacamole at all? Guess it all depends on how much illegal activity you can stomach.