A student has developed an avocado substitute that takes less water to produce than the real thing
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Spotted: Avocados are healthy and extremely popular, but they are also a particularly resource-intensive crop. Every year, 11 billion pounds of avocados are eaten around the world – many of them produced in Mexico. And producing all those avocados uses up an unsustainable amount of water – it takes around 320 litres of water to grow and ship a single avocado. Moreover, the carbon footprint of that single avocado is also about the same as a whole kilo of bananas.
To solve this problem, Central Saint Martins graduate student Arina Shokouhi has invented an avocado substitute that is more resource-friendly – the Ecovado. Like the avocado, the Ecovado is pale green, creamy, and healthy. It is made from a combination of mostly broad beans, hazelnut, apple, and rapeseed oil. Because the Ecovado was designed for the British market, all of the ingredients are grown in Britain and sourced locally to reduce food miles.
To develop the recipe, Shokouhi worked with food scientist Jack Wallman from the University of Nottingham’s Food Innovation Centre. The Evocado is surrounded by a fake skin made from natural and naturally-coloured wax, which is not only biodegradable and compostable, but can also be upcycled into a candle once the insides are eaten. At the centre of the Ecovado is a large nut, instead of a stone.
The best ways to reduce the carbon impact of food production are to eat fewer animal products and to buy primarily locally produced food. This is not always easy or possible, but there are a growing number of innovations that are helping. In addition to the Ecovado, Springwise has spotted developments such as new technology helping farmers make better-informed decisions and plant-based alternatives for everything from meat and fish to dairy.
Written By: Lisa Magloff