How to spot an illegal avocado

Two Tauranga locals have been arrested over a spate of avocado thefts in Bay of Plenty.

A 23-year-old will appear in court facing two burglary charges, and a 27-year-old is facing three counts of burglary.

A 63-year-old has also been charged on two counts of receiving property.

New Zealand Avocado is warning buyers to be vigilant for black market products. Chief executive Jen Scoular says a legitimately harvested avocado stalk will be between three and five millimetres - anything else is likely to have been taken illegally.

"If it's too long, it's just broken off where they've raked it off the tree, or where they've raked it off really harshly and the stalk disappears completely."

There have been more than 40 burglaries at orchards in the last two months alone, and price rises could be on the cards.

"There's a very low supply coming on to retailers and into consumers," says Ms Scoular.

An almost failed crop over summer, combined with the fact avocados are out of season, has created huge demand for the popular health food. 

They reached their highest average price of $5 in May. At the moment they cost about $3.50 each.  

Newshub.