Expensive avocado causes restaurants to take them out of the menu. Buasha60's Natasha Abellard has the story.

Here's the scoop: Avocado prices continue to dip.

While wholesale prices for avocados have dropped nearly $ 20 for a 25-pound box after an early July peak, the popular fruit still costs 80% more than this time last year, said David Magaña, vice president and senior analyst at Rabobank based in Fresno, California.

Some restaurants have started charging more for guacamole or taking the avocado off the menu. Faux guacamole recipes made by calabacitas, a small Mexican squash, have been posted on social media.

But despite the higher prices, National Avocado Day, which was held annually on July 31, has not been canceled.

Chipotle Mexican Grill will add free guacamole to entree orders placed on the app and website Wednesday, a campaign that proved so popular last year that officials said it "broke the internet."

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The composite holiday prompted Qdoba Mexican Eats to launch a petition asking competitors to "make guacamole free, not just for one day, but every day. "

Qdoba, a fast casual chain with more than 730 locations, is known for no extra charge for guacamole or queso daily at participating restaurants. However, some have started to charge an additional fee due to the increased prices.

A sign in Greenwood, Indiana, Qdoba, where guac is usually free, says "due to high avocado prices, we are temporarily charging a $ 0.45 fee for guacamole. We appreciate your understanding."

Qdoba did not immediately respond to the US In DAG's request for comment on how many sites charge for guac.

"Adding guac to your meal should be free for everyone, everywhere. It's that simple. Why should a customer be penalized for making a meal more palatable?" Qdoba said in his request. "It can make dollars for our competitors, but it makes no sense to us. We are proud to announce that our guac is free. "


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What Happens Next

During Chipotle's July 23 earnings call, CEO Brian Niccol said "the biggest wildcard in terms of our margin potential is avocado."

The higher prices were partially offset by a menu price increase, said Jack Hartung, chief financial officer at Chipotle, during the conversation.

“Avocado is the history of inflation we see and it is not really sustained inflation. It's more of a cyclical thing, it's an off-balance supply and demand right now, ”Niccol said. "We expect it to be more normal."

If prices continue to rise, restaurants may change menus.

The Mission Taco Joint, a small Missouri chain of six locations, uses about 150 cases of 48 avocados each week, chef Jason Tilford said, adding that they usually see an increase in avocado prices once a year.

"It's something we've become accustomed to now, so we only eat the cost because it's not fair to pass on to our guests," Tilford said. In case "that avocados reached a price range we were not comfortable with or became unavailable, we would temporarily take them off the menu."

Wholesale prices for mid-sized avocados from Mexico are around $ 65 for a 25-pound box, down from $ 84.25 the first week of July, Magaña said.

"Over the next month, the price level will depend on how fast California shipments are declining, and also on how fast shipments out of Mexico continue to increase," said Magaña. "After September, the US avocado market will rely heavily on shipments from Michoacán, so any potential supply disruption in Mexico will soon affect prices. "


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National Avocado Agreements

Discounts and freebies are available at participating locations on Wednesday, unless otherwise noted. The offers can vary and most times are offered as long as the goods last. To be on the safe side, always check with your nearest location before heading out.

Carl & # 39; s Jr: The fast food chain announced that it has received a new spin on avocado cheese – Guacamole Double Cheeseburger. The new menu item is available for $ 2.99 through October 8. Rates and participation vary from place to place. On Wednesday, there will be an Instagram post from Avocado Day about a contest for the chance to win a trip for two to "The Ultimate Avocado Brunch" at a Carl & # 39; s Jr. location in Los Angeles.

Chipotle: Get free guac on any entree purchased in Chipotle's app or website on Wednesday. No promotional code is required and this offer applies only to digital orders for delivery or order ahead. When you join Chipotle Rewards, you can receive a reward for free guacamole and chips after making your first purchase. Join us at Chosen Foods: The avocado oil brand is giving away an avocado grove in Jalisco, Mexico for its national Avocado Day campaign. Or you can choose to take $ 5,000. Entrance by 11:59 p.m. PST Wednesday at

Del Taco: With the restaurant's app on Wednesday, get a buy-a-get-a-free deal at Beyond Avocado Taco. Download the app at Chapter19459053 Doll El Pollo Loco: Get free chips and guacamole Wednesday with online purchase of any regular family dinner with coupon code GUAC.

Just Salad: Buy an Avocado Dreamsicle smoothie and get a free Wednesday at all US locations.


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Rubio & # 39; s Coastal Grill: Get free chips and guacamole with any order on Wednesday with a coupon on www / coupons / national-avocado-day.ebrit19659005 Dollars1919909053Tijuana Apartments: Get a free small page of guacamole with the purchase of an adult entree Wednesday when you mention the offer. Only in the store.

Veggie Grill: Get double points on the app Wednesday when ordering Summer Avocado Toast.

Local Offers: Locally owned businesses and smaller chains may also have National Avocado Day specials. One of the easiest ways to find out is to check out restaurants' social media channels.

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Contributor: Amy Haneline

Follow United States TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko

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