Although some media are reporting of a possible shortage of avocados — and therefore guacamole — for Super Bowl festivities because of a fuel shortage in Mexico, importers say there’s no indication supplies are being affected.
But they are monitoring the situation leading up to the Feb. 3 game, for good reason.
The Super Bowl is the, well, the Super Bowl of avocado holidays/events, rivaling Cinco de Mayo sales. The Hass Avocado Board reported sales hit a 4-year high at Super Bowl 2018, at $58.4 million for that promotion period, just behind about $60 million in Cinco de Mayo sales a few months later.
The Mexican government, whose Pemex petroleum company has been beset by fuel thefts, has clamped down on supplies to thwart thieves, a move that has left motorists across the country without gas.
Avocados from Mexico released a statement that it's highly unlikely the situation will affect supplies to the U.S.
“There will be virtually no impact from the fuel shortage in Mexico on our ability to deliver avocados to the US market, as the majority of our suppliers use diesel in their trucks," according to the statement. "We are on track to deliver some 200 million pounds of product throughout January — right on schedule. American consumers should be confident that there will be plenty of Avocados from Mexico for their Super Bowl parties.”
Ramon Paz, spokesman for APEAM, which represents thousands of growers and more than 50 packers who export, said Jan. 10 the situation hasn’t led to any less fruit being picked, packed or shipped.
He said there have been mixed messages from Mexican media, and Pemex and the government haven’t indicated when fuel supplies might return to normal.
“We have been able to normally conduct our harvesting and hauling operations, as well as our shipments to the U.S. market,” Paz said. “Naturally, we are paying attention to the situation, since the risk remains.”
Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing at Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., said fuel shortages are mainly to retail operations in urban areas. Trucks carrying Calavo fruit are typically diesel, and refuel at their consolidation yards with fuel bought in bulk.
“Shipments within Mexico have not been disrupted or delayed,” Wedin said.
Jim Donovan, senior vice president of global sourcing for Mission Produce, Oxnard, Calif., said Jan. 9 there’s been no problems with trucks from fields to packinghouses or reefer trucks reaching the border.
“We expect this week to be a very good harvest and a very important week, jumpstarting the Super Bowl push,” Donovan said. “Of course, if the fuel shortage expands and continues, it may create some challenges. In the past, these fuel shortages have not developed into full-blown harvest disruptions.”