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WAO fires back at London chefs who propose removing avocados from their menus

The World Avocado Organization fired back at what it considers a smear campaign against avocados by a small group of London chefs who claim the water footprint to produce the fruit is too high and thus detrimental to the environment.

Xavier Equihua
Xavier Equihua

The small culinary cabal has proposed using imitation guacamole instead of the real thing, and one chef even suggested using fava beans in place of avocados, which WAO Chief Executive Officer Xavier Equihua called the height of hypocrisy, since they require almost 10 times the water to produce.

“It’s comical to see how these few London-based chefs propose to eliminate or substitute avocados with other products that in some cases require 10 times more water than required to produce a kilo of avocados,” he said.

Equihua said it is equally difficult to understand how these chefs talk negatively about a product with such high nutritional value and a relatively small water footprint when their menus are full of products that require thousands and thousands of liters of water to produce a single kilo.

“If they really wanted to be allies of the environment, they would stop serving meat and dairy products, and only serve products with a water footprint equal to or less than avocados,” said Equihua.

The WAO executive also pointed out that research indicates liter for liter, the water used to produce one kilo of avocados is one of the highest nutritional returns for humans.

“Similarly, all avocados sold in Europe and the U.K. are GlobalGAP certified, meaning they already meet set standards for safe, socially and environmentally responsible agricultural production practices,” he said.

Equihua said that the global avocado industry has in recent years managed to produce avocados using much less water. He said a kilo of avocados could be produced using 600 liters of water, while in comparison a similar amount of rice, pork and chicken requires 4,000, 4,300 and 6,000 liters of water, respectively.

Equihua made his case for avocados in a written response to The Guardian of the UK, which published an article titled End of the Avocado, by Claire Finney. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

For a short video about the avocado's water footprint, please click here.

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