New Data Shows The Positive Impact Avocados Have On The Economy

Guacamole and avocado toast haven't always been beloved by American consumers. Avocados have been a staple food in Mexico for millennia, with cultivation dating back to about 5000 B.C., notes National Geographic. – but the fruit's popularity in the U.S. has seen a dramatic spike in recent decades. From 1985 to 2020, the number of avocados eaten annually has grown from 436 million to 2.7 billion pounds, per Statista. People are now eating three times more avocados than they did as recently as 20 years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Interestingly enough, the Hass variety of avocados has become the overwhelming favorite of Americans. They now account for about 95% of avocados consumed in the U.S., per Avocados From Mexico. It's rather remarkable given that Hass avocados are but one of over 400 varieties grown worldwide, observes Smithsonian Magazine. An even more remarkable fact is that they've only existed for about 100 years. The Hass variety is named for the California horticulturist Rudolph Hass, who was the first to grow it in 1926 (per the University of California). The variety took a while to catch on, but it eventually became so popular that Mexican growers adopted it, too, per Avocados From Mexico.

In fact, a recently released study on Hass avocados highlights just how ubiquitous they've become and how important they are for both the U.S. and Mexican economies.

Study highlights the importance of the Hass avocado variety

Findings from a study recently undertaken at Texas A&M University highlight the enormous growth in Hass avocado consumption in the U.S. and what that means in terms of economic benefits for both the U.S. and Mexico. According to an Avocado Institute press release, the U.S. imports of avocados from Mexico have skyrocketed over the past 25 years, increasing on a yearly basis by over 2 billion pounds. The benefit of this uptick is obvious for Mexican growers, but as the study shows, it also has provided enormous benefits for the U.S. economy, boosting the GDP by over $6 billion, creating close to 60,000 jobs, and accounting for nearly $4 billion in labor income. The latter also translates to $1.3 billion in U.S. taxes.

"The new data is a testimony to the positive impact the trade relationship between the two countries can have on the overall economies," notes Ron Campbell, executive director of the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association (MHAIA) (via the press release).

Avocados' impact on the U.S. GDP is growing. In fact, it has quintupled over the past 10 years — from $1.2 billion to $6.1 billion. But the benefits from increased avocado supply and demand extend back across the border. As the press release points out, Mexican workers have also benefitted since the growth in avocado exports has led to 78,000 new permanent jobs there and over 300,000 more on a seasonal basis.