UNITED STATES.- There is a lime crisis: everyone south of the border knows this and lives with it on a daily basis. Mexico assumed that only they would be impacted by the shortage, but in reality the US is also greatly impacted.
Because of complications due to the climate, as well as the insecurity in the state of Michoacán — which is the largest producer of limes in Mexico — prices have skyrocketed in the past few months, reaching up to 60 pesos (almost 5 dollars) per kilo in certain parts of the country.
We have seen the prices come down in the northern part of Mexico, with the kilo back down to approximately 20 pesos (less than 2 dollars), although the price is still not back to its pre-crisis level.
The US however — which imports almost 80 percent of Mexico’s limes — is just starting to notice this price spike. Here prices have increased by almost four times in the past year. In 2013 limes were sold at about 11 to 30 cents each, while they are now more commonly priced closer at 40 to 80 cents.
According to a study conducted by FiveThirtyEight.com, in the last ten years the consumption of limes has doubled or possibly tripled in the US. This is partially due to the increase in Hispanics, but also due to an increase in popularity amongst the US population.
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AGMRC) reported on the citrus market in 2013 in the US, and indicated that almost 100% of limes consumed in the country are imported, and 80% of imports derive from Mexico.
Mexico isn’t the only country that produces the green lime. India, Argentina, and Brazil are also large lime producers, and although Mexico is currently number one (at least, before the lime crisis of 2014), the US could easily replace Mexican imports with Brazilian or Indian imports, at least for the time being to satisfy short-term demand.
Vía Mona Chalabi de FiveThirtyEight.com