Lime Shortage Spikes Prices Ahead of Cinco de Mayo

Image: Lime Shortage Spikes Prices Ahead of Cinco de Mayo

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 03:05 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A lime shortage has pushed the price of limes to record levels, forcing restaurant managers to be creative about getting their hands on the fruit that gets a lot of attention during upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

California restaurant manager Dave Dennis told The Wall Street Journal that he called family and friends to see if they had limes on their trees after seeing the prices spike. But most weren’t ripe, and since his Mexican restaurant uses 1,000 limes a week for drinks and food, he launched an unusual advertising campaign.

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“Bring us a bag full of limes and get a crafted cocktail for just 25 cents," Dennis posted on Facebook and Twitter, the WSJ reported. He also put up a sign in the restaurant: "WE WANT YOUR LIMES."

With expected sales of margaritas and other lime-bearing drinks for Cinco de Mayo, the shortage is expected to cause an even bigger financial issue for restaurants.

Most of America’s limes come from Mexico, which saw heavy rains and other issues over the winter that delayed the lime harvest. A crate of Mexican limes is going for $100 wholesale, the WSJ said, which is four times the usual price this time of year.

In Austin, restaurant manager Danny Herrera told Marketplace World he was paying $14 for a case of limes six months ago and is shelling out $99 now.

Even though he acknowledged that floods and plagues have hurt lime crops, a Mexican lime grower who asked not to be identified told Marketplace World that the local lime prices in his area are not high and have been steady. When a reporter told him the going price in the United States, he was shocked.

“Son of a ... That’s a gross exaggeration,” the man told Marketplace World, and added that someone was making money but it wasn’t him.

Dr. Eric Thor from the School of Agribusiness at Arizona State University told Marketplace World that demand for limes has gone up all over the world, which will cause prices to rise too.

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