Updated: 04/22/2014 6:07 AM
Created: 04/21/2014 9:50 PM KSTP.com
By: Tim Sherno
The price of limes has spiked in recent weeks; up from roughly $20 per 40 pound case to more than $120 per case.
The co-owner of nine Acapulco Restaurante Mexicano locations in the metro, Sam Leon, tells KSTP his company relies on limes. "We go through about 700 pounds of limes a week," he said.
Most limes sold in the U.S. come from Mexico where bad weather did early and severe damage to the crop. In addition, most limes come from a region in Mexico that has become a battle ground between rival drug cartels. The cartels reportedly have hijacked trucks and demanded extortion payments from farmers.
Professor David Vang from the Finance Department of University of St. Thomas says the supply chain between a producer and consumer can have an immediate impact. "Anything that goes wrong with that supply chain can actually affect prices, hundreds even thousands of miles away."
Leon says the current increase in the price of limes is costing his company roughly $1,700 a week. "We're looking at raising the prices about 25 cents per margarita, but at this point we're going to bite the bullet and not pass the price to the consumer."
While some restaurants have chosen to substitute other citrus in recipes, Leon says his company has chosen not to, "We didn't want to mess up the integrity of our recipes so we decided to leave it alone."
At this point it's not known if or when the price of limes will return to near-normal levels, but the hope is supplies will be higher with the next crop, and merchants out of reach of the cartels will increase production to match demand and lower prices.