End of the avocado? Why chefs are ditching the unsustainable fruit

Adios, avocado! High-profile chefs are increasingly rejecting the widely beloved avocado in favour of more sustainable ingredients, reports The Guardian.

Recently, Wahaca, the UK’s biggest Mexican restaurant chain, introduced an “avo-free” guacamole made with fava beans, coriander, lime, nuts, and seeds, citing how global demand is making the fruit unaffordable to the communities where avocados are indigenous.

But avocados are challenging to replace – as are their derivatives, avocado oil and avocado butter, which are important in gluten-free and vegan baking. Plus, for many fans of the fruit, a dip made from beans, nuts, seeds or vegetables is no more a replacement for guacamole than smashed broad beans on toast is an alternative to smashed avocado.

Perhaps anticipating this complaint, Wahaca has said that “a traditional, freshly made guacamole” will remain on its menu, for which all of its avocados are “sourced at the most sustainable levels possible”.

Elsewhere, chefs are seeking to replicate the colour and texture of the creamy, versatile fruit with a combination of ingredients, including peas, Jerusalem artichokes, courgette, and ground pumpkin seeds.

An emblem of millennial-era food culture — pricey avocado toast was once famously blamed for the generation’s sluggish rate of homeownership — the fruit’s soaring popularity in the past two decades has led to intensive and unsustainable production methods.

Wahaca’s decision to offer an alternative to guacamole is perhaps the clearest indication to date that “parts of the food industry are beginning to wake up to the enormity of the issues we face as a result of intensive farming”, says Tim Lang, a professor of food policy at City, University of London.

Avocados have become a “global commodity crop”, he says, the perfect example of what happens when “an exotic food becomes normalised with no thinking through of the consequences”. Problems include deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and water shortage in growing communities.

Avocado farming is increasingly linked to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water shortages. According to Danish watchdog media group Danwatch, growing a single avocado in a drier region such as Chile, where the fruit is widely cultivated for European export, consumes a mind-boggling 320 liters of water (that’s roughly 84 gallons).

Avocado production has also been linked to cartel violence in Mexico, leading Irish chef JP McMahon to proclaim them the country’s “blood diamonds.” ….

The Guardian: Read the full article here