He almost certainly wasn’t considering the brunch impacts when he floated the idea, but President Donald Trump’s quick embrace of a 20 percent tariff on all goods coming in from Mexico would certainly have an impact that would reach into our Sunday morning meals. At least our avocado toast.
The United States is almost completely reliant on Mexico for avocados at this point with recent data suggesting that we in the United States get 93 percent of our Hass and 88 percent of all our avocados from our neighbor to the South. Not only that, but demand in America for avocados has grown so rapidly that as of 2014 we bought 78 percent of all the avocados Mexico, the world’s largest producer, had.
It’s worth mentioning here that representatives from the Trump administration have since backed off the proposed tariff, with press secretary Sean Spicer referring to it as one of “a buffet of options.” (Hey, at least they’re working with the right metaphors).
That new less-than-enthusiastic-messaging could be because of a sudden realization that the tariff, as proposed, wouldn’t just hurt Mexico. It would impact Americans in a drastic way. When any country slaps tariffs on goods from another, that tax is always passed on to consumers of those goods. One study of a tariff on foreign sugar enacted by the United States around the turn of the 20th century found that 40 percent of the tax was born directly by American consumers. And in case you haven’t noticed, avocados are not exactly the cheapest item in your Whole Foods shopping cart as it is. As recently as October, avocado prices were more than double what they were just a year ago, so any additional increase would certainly not sit well with all America’s avocado eaters.
And while it might be easy for the Trump administration to dismiss concerns like this as nothing more than the griping of a bunch of coastal elite hipsters from inside their avocado green bubbles, they would do so at their own peril.
Even Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) seems to see it as a problem.
And no one has ever confused Lindsay Graham with a hipster.
And while the tariff looks to be on hold for the moment, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. If President Trump gets a bad bowl of guacamole with his taco bowl and tweets about it, it could be the end of the avocado as we know it.