UPDATE: 3/5/14 Chipotle spokesman walks back the claim, see below.
Chipotle warns global warming may force it to stop serving guacamole.
Yes, that’s an actual headline. Too bad they didn’t do a little research first.
This story is from the excitable kids at Climate Progress, who are paid to make you worry about these things:
The guacamole operation at Chipotle is massive. The company uses, on average, 97,000 pounds of avocado every day to make its guac — which adds up to 35.4 million pounds of avocados every year. And while the avocado industry is fine at the moment, scientists are anticipating drier conditions due to climate change, which may have negative effects on California’s crop. Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for example, predict hotter temps will cause a 40 percent drop in California’s avocado production over the next 32 years. [Climate Progress]
No comment so far from Taco Bell, Chevy’s Fresh Mex, Del Taco, El Toro and many other Mexican food restaurant chains in the USA. (Added: for our overseas readers, this is Chipotle, apparently the news about the Guacamole crisis wasn’t important enough for their press feed)
But if the crisis worsens, expect Guacamole smugglers to fill in the vacuum.
Oh, wait, most avocados don’t come from California:
Mexico accounts for half of world trade
Nearly half of all internationally traded avocados are from Mexico (table 2). It came to nearly 500,000 tonnes valued at 0.9 billion dollars in 2012. Export increases every year, but the increase from 2010 to 2011 was very substantial. Three quarters of Mexican export is directed at their northern neighbour, the USA. Last year, 370,000 tonnes of Mexican produce went across their northern border. Japan bought a lot more Mexican avocados last year than previously: 50,000 tonnes. Canada is their third largest customer. Mexico exports about 30% of its production (table 3).
Number two producer Chile brings 30% of its production to the international trade, with the USA as their most important customer as well, and the Netherlands as number two on that list (table 4). Peru exports 40% of its production, most of it to Europe, with the Netherlands as their most important customer, followed by Spain. 2012 showed growth again, after export remained stable in the years leading up (table 5). Israel is a relatively small producer, but almost the entire harvest (90%) is sold abroad. After a big drop in export in 2011, 2012 saw an increase in export, namely 60,000 tonnes. France, the Netherlands and Russia are important customers (table 8). The Dutch (re)export is mainly aimed at Germany, but Sweden also buys a lot. France, Denmark and Norway are also important customers for the Dutch trade (table 6a).
USA biggest importer, Netherlands second
The United States are by far the biggest avocado importers. The 500,000 tonnes mark was passed in 2012. The majority comes from neighbouring Mexico (table 14). The Netherlands are the world’s second largest import market. Import statistics show that it came to 96,000 tonnes valued at 190 million dollars in 2012. South Africa, Chile and Peru each supplied just under 20,000 tonnes last year. The South African import shows quite a few fluctuations from year to year. Chile and Peru provide more each year (table 15a). According to South African and Peruvian export statistics more is shipped to the Netherlands than (Dutch) import statistics show. This is partially explained by trade going to the Netherlands through other countries, such as France, Spain and Germany. As an importer, France is almost as important as the Netherlands. This country imported 95,000 tonnes in 2012. Spain is their most important supplier, followed by Peru and Israel (table 15b).
h/t to Tom Nelson for the CP link and Steve Milloy for the fun title.
1. This is mostly a marketing ploy by Chipotle i.e. “come get now what you may not be able to get later”.
2. If it ever comes to pass that Chipotle can’t get “locally sourced produce” (I wonder how they get Avocados at the Chipotle in Portland, Maine?) they’ll opt to have them imported in order to keep customers coming in. Profit rules those decisions.
3. added 3/5/14 Told ya so:
Chipotle stirred up the media and guacamole lovers with news that it could “suspend” guacamole from its menu due to global warming.
But a restaurant spokesman tells the Los Angeles Times: “This is way overblown.”