Peter Maniatis put up this sign in his window last week to start conversations with his customers. Photo: Superior Fruit & Wendy's Kitchen
A Brisbane fruiterer has put up a sign likening avocados to cash after a recent demand spike for the green fruit saw prices soar.
Superior Fruit & Wendy's Kitchen owner Peter Maniatis, who has run his family business for more than 30 years, put up his 'Please note: No cash or avocados kept on premises overnight by order of management' sign last week to start a conversation with his customers as to why avocados had become expensive.
"It was to raise a little bit of awareness, people see something a little bit out of the ordinary they tend to question it a bit more," Mr Maniatis said.
"We are no stranger to talking to customers and trying to educate them as best we can, and this was our own silly little way of doing it."
Mr Maniatis said ordinarily avocados were more expensive at this time of year as they were not in season however this year it seemed demand had outstripped supply, which saw some avocado lovers fork out over $5 for one fruit.
"I think more than anything what we are competing with are foreign markets, you have got the rest of the world who are willing to pay a premium price for Australian products because of our high standards and unfortunately we have to compete with that market," Mr Maniatis said.
"At the end of the day there are a lot of reasons as to why they are expensive, but they are out of season. If we want one, someone is saying sure, you can have them but you are going to pay a premium for it."
Mr Maniatis said the price increase was also caused by market instability where fruit was sold before it gets to the market resulting in a deterioration of market control over fair prices.
"There are a lot of retailers out there, I am one of them, who have put no mark up on them, so whatever I buy them for is what I sell them for," Mr Maniatis said.
"Any retailer that I have spoken to are wearing the cost.
"I want people to know that no one is ripping them off, if they were I would be more than willing to open that can of worms, but they are not, unfortunately it just is what it is.
"The sad part is we will probably see more of this."
Avocados Australia's CEO John Tyas said the summer period was typically a lower supply timeframe for avocados, which often meant increased prices as a result.
"There is a limit to how much growers can vary their harvest schedule," Mr Tyas said.
"There are too many steps in our supply chain to ramp up supply – the growers would need to contract extra pickers, and the knock-on effect is that the packers would need to schedule extra staff and more trucks for transport and this simply can't happen at a moment's notice."