Avocado and lettuce shortage incites local price increase

Restaurants and grocers taking the brunt of it
Posted at 7:03 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 20:03:51-04

If you've been in the produce aisle lately, you may have noticed prices are soaring on some of your favorite healthy eats.

Heavy rain in California is to blame for expensive lettuce and avocados in local grocery stores and restaurants.

Woodman's in Oak Creek has about the cheapest avocados in the area at 99 cents. Some local grocers are passing the buck onto customers at $2 apiece.

"I wouldn't even allow myself to pay that much,” said Roi Brown.

According to the Hass Avocado Board, nationwide prices hovering around $1.25, that’s about 50 cents more than the average just three months ago.

Lettuce heads at Woodman’s are at $2.39. Store management said they’re normally at least a dollar less.

"Either you buy it or you don't buy it," said Brown.

Woodman's store management said they are taking a hit on the 2 produce items, yet some of the additional costs goes to the consumer. The prices started to rise after heavy rain and flooding in California. The Golden State produces the most avocados and second most lettuce in the country.

Restaurants like Café Benelux in downtown Milwaukee are also taking the brunt of the shortage.

"Right now avocados are at about $60 a case, normally they run around $35," said General Manager Kristine Hinners.

Hinners said they noticed the price increase about a month ago.

"We've taken a little hit by it,” she said. “We don't generally change prices."

The price hike is expected to be short-lived because the weather out west has greatly improved.

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