The benefits of avocado in the diet are numerous: it is a source of energy and nutrients, rich in fiber, has a lot of potassium and is also delicious. However, this list of virtues cannot hide a dark reality: this fruit has a significant ecological footprint and massive global demand, mainly for North America, Europe and Asia, make it an unsustainable food for the planet.
So much so that there are already food chains and chefs who are trying to find a replacement for him. Among those chosen for this difficult task are peas, artichokes, squash, or pistachios. Alternatives that will probably be gaining more and more weight in the world in the face of the problems that the so-called green gold is facing.
To know the dimension of the problem, you must first go to the data. Each avocado needs approximately 320 liters of water to grow. On a planet in which one in three people, that is, 2,000 million, does not have access to drinking water, according to Unicef, this data is devastating for the sustainability of the demanded fruit.
But there is more. Currently world demand is about 5,000 kilos per year, as revealed by the data of the World Economic Forum. Being a product that is so fashionable and very economically profitable for producers, the consequences for the environment they are terrible.
It is the case, for example, from Michoacan. This Mexican region produces 5 out of 10 avocados that are grown worldwide (50%). Every six minutes a truck loaded with this fruit leaves for the United States.
The disproportionate demand for green gold has had positive effects on the economy of this area, but has had greater losses that are not so visible: the environmental ones, which have a huge effect on climate change.
Thus, they have been destroyed forest landscapes, land has been burned and trees have been cut down so that the avocado receives more light. These actions contribute to deforestation and accelerate global warming and climate change. In this sense, a hectare of avocado with 156 trees consumes 1.6 times more than a forest with 677 trees per hectare.
And Michoacán has already begun to pay the consequences, with the loss of biodiversity, extreme weather conditions (more intense rains and cyclones) and extensive soil degradation.
One of the solutions to reduce its environmental impact according to the World Economic Forum, is the requirement that the food comes from fair trade and sustainable crops and is not the product of deforestation, organized crime or the exploitation of aquifers. For this, there should be an international certification.
Another possibility is that trade agreements include the environmental impact in their exports, with the objective that a country is not destroyed so that another can consume. In this sense, Mexico has a task ahead.
Logically, a third option goes through modifying personal consumption habits to minimize the environmental impact generated by the massive exploitation of avocados. And in this regard, several alternatives have already emerged.
Peas or artichokes, avocado substitutes
As reported by Yahoo UK, the chain of Mexican food restaurants Wuhaca has developed an option other than avocado: a sauce inspired by guacamole made with beans, chili, lime and coriander. Even so, they have not eliminated their traditional guacamole, so they guarantee that each and every fruit has been grown in the most sustainable way possible.
In Toronto (Canada), Mexican chef Aldo Camarena has developed a sauce made with zucchini and pumpkin seed paste; while the chef Santiago Lastra tried with pistachios and gooseberries at his restaurant in London.
Other options that have been seen in recent years have been a guacamole made with artichokes or peas. All of them more sustainable options and with less impact on climate change.
ON VIDEO I The trick to remove the avocado pit in a simple movement with the hand