It was with a certain sense of delight that I received a news release this morning noting a potential price hike on olive oil following environmental factors that put 19.8 per cent on the price back in 2015. Granted I use olive oil in most of my cooking, but coupled with the news that avocado prices are set to rise and zesty fruits such as lemons and limes may also be in for a price hike we could finally be getting rid of the “foodie fad” that is smashed/ mashed/ crushed/ *insert wanky term* avocado on toast.
For those of you who read my rants on a regular basis you will have become attuned to my detest of what I believe to be a barrage of unnecessary social media-driven foodie trends. Flat shites with pretty leaves on the top, restaurants serving food in flat caps rather than plates and the plethora of wanky terminology that now litters restaurant menus as if there “isn’t a punter in the world who would ever dream of eating a loaf of bread if it hadn’t been kneaded on the thighs of a virgin using flour blessed by Trapist monk and salt from the deepest depths of the Himalayas”.
The poor avocado has been caught up in this middle class assault of the food industry ever since we Brits got a taste for the Mexican treat. Noted for its health benefits that result from a markedly higher monounsaturated fat content it has become a staple in salads, sushi and sandwiches, and most lately as a toast topping denoted by a synonym of “crushed”. Served with a poached egg and a sprinkle of chilli flakes this combo is an evil that has become rooted to the menus of trendy cafes across the country to the delight of happy snapper eaters who don’t mind having half slice of toasted soda bread lathered with garlicky gooeyness as long as it looks the part.
But perhaps not for much longer.
Following the news that avocado prices are rising steeply and quickly due to increasing demand amid a meagre harvest olive oil harvests may be going the same way. The increase in the price of olive oil was highlighted a year ago by IRI, when it announced an average price increase of 19.8 per cent in 2015, due to the impact of a bacterial disease on olive production in Italy and poor harvests in Spain, Europe’s largest olive oil producing country. While prices rose much less steeply in 2016 vs. 2015, IRI’s figures suggest that these environmental factors are still affecting the olive oil category.
What’s more, the limited availability of citrus fruits such as lemons could also tip the price of smashed avocado from ridiculous overpriced to completely unaffordable. Record breaking levels of rain in California following a prolonged dry season has helped push the size of the lemons to a larger size sooner than normal which has put pressure on the smaller-sized fruit and squeezed overall supply. It’s still early to see how that might impact price, but keep an eye out for other inflationary pressures and seasonal factors which could limit supply.
Along with inflated price hikes on avocados and olive oil that could kick out the three main ingredients for our posh plate and force trendy cafes to look elsewhere for things to mash up instead. A big victory if you ask me. Now I just need to figure out how to inflate the price of frothy milk.