Our Obsession with Guacamole Has Created an Avocado Black Market

With the barrage of avocado toast pics on social media not slowing down any time soon and murmurs of a pending “Guacalypse,” it’s no surprise that the price everybody’s favorite fatty fruit is climbing.

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Jun 16 2016, 7:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Steven Depolo

There are more than four million photos accompanied by the hasthag #avocado on Instagram.

With the barrage of avocado toast pics on social media not slowing down any time soon and murmurs of a pending "Guacalypse," it's no surprise that the price of everybody's favorite fatty fruit is soaring.

And, as with most cases of climbing demand and limited supply, prices can become exorbitant, which, almost inevitably, leads to crime, usually in the form of theft. Avocados are no different from maple syrup, oysters, Parmesan cheese, or even honey bees in this regard; the relatively low security around food crops makes them the perfect target for pesky thieves looking to make a quick buck off of expensive foods.

READ MORE: Avocados Are About to Get Way More Expensive

New Zealand is finding this out the hard way. Despite having plenty of avocados, significantly higher profits for exports means that farmers have been struggling to keep up with local demand. As a result, there have been almost 40 thefts since the beginning of the year, according to The Guardian, and we're not talking about one or two avocados from the fruit aisle; reports have emerged of some heists totalling more than 350 avocados.

With avocados costing upwards $4 US dollars each, that heist would technically make for a $1,400 loot. These hot avocados would conceivably be sold below retail price, but they would also be of a lesser grade. "These stolen avocados can carry risks," Sergeant Aaron Fraser of Waihi told The Guardian. "They are unripe, some have been sprayed recently and they may still carry toxins on the skin. But with the prices so high at the moment, the potential for profit is a strong inducement for certain individuals."

Thefts have typically taken place in the middle of the night, with thieves hand-picking them, leaving blankets under avocado trees, and even using rakes to pull them from trees—creative, sure, but hardly a sophisticated operation.

Still, with avocados only getting more popular, these thieves will only have more time to fine-tune their methods. Let's just hope the Guacalypse doesn't come first. Either way, we are all responsible for the avocado crime spree.