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High cost of limes putting squeeze on airlines

Tue., April 8, 2014

NEW YORK – Airline passengers might notice something missing these days from their vodka tonics or Diet Cokes: the lime.

A recent spike in the price of limes has caused some airlines – for now – to stop offering the fruit in their beverage service.

“We temporarily pulled limes about two weeks ago, due to skyrocketing lime prices,” said Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Halley Knigge. She said the airline normally goes through about 900 limes a day.

Lime growers in the Mexican state of Michoacan have reduced their supply because of unrest caused by drug cartels and flooding from heavy rains. That, combined with drought in California and an overall growing demand for limes for margaritas, tacos and other dishes, has driven up prices to a three-year high.

The average advertised price of a lime in U.S. supermarkets was 56 cents last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s up from 37 cents the week ending March 28.

United Airlines has had to make do with lemons on some flights, saying the drought has limited its lime supply.


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