Photo Credit: Arina Shokouhi
One of the most traded foods today is avocado, sometimes known as “green gold” by the global market. The numerous uses of its components have led to a growth in its appeal. According to the World Economic Forum, consumers purchase more than eleven billion pounds of avocados annually.
This shows that the avocado market is doing well. However, although the market for avocados is booming, the environment is being badly impacted. One drawback of cultivating avocados is this: Avocado growers need to consume at least 2,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of avocados. In addition, as demand rises, businesses must concurrently destroy forests to make room for avocado farms. These two reasons have persuaded a London-based researcher to come up with a novel strategy for reducing the need for avocado production.
Researcher and designer Arina Shokouhi created an environmentally friendly variant of avocado. With her new invention, which she named the “Ecovocado,” Shokouhi intends to persuade consumers to forego purchasing “genuine avocadoes” from the market, given the damaging effects that their cultivation has on the environment.
“It can be actually a positive solution, and we should just embrace it because we know that we can’t carry on living like this,” Shokouhi said.
At first appearance, customers find it challenging to recognize the Ecovocado as a model of the real one. Beeswax and natural food coloring created from spinach and charcoal powders, which mimic the appearance of avocado skin, is used to create the product.
The Ecovocado’s meat is meticulously chosen to replicate the flavor and appearance of an authentic avocado. The Ecovocado meat, according to the manufacturer, contains broad beans, apples, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, and a hazelnut garnish. Shokouhi utilized a whole chestnut or hazelnut for the pit.
The end outcome of Shokouhi’s master’s program in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins art school is the Ecovocado. She worked with University of Nottingham food scientist Jack Wallman. Wallman assisted Shokouhi in completing the Ecovocado after studying the molecular characteristics of avocados. The method was laborious, according to the researchers, and it took them close to eight months to finish the recipe.
“(The) choice of ingredients was very limited, to begin with, because I want it to be 100% local. That was my first priority,” she added.
Garden peas and broccoli were previous recipe considerations. Nevertheless, she had to abandon it because the ingredients’ taste did not turn out nicely. Shokouhi’s idea to employ locally produced commodities as the primary ingredients were taken into account. Since broad beans are simple to grow and are produced in large quantities in the UK each year (740,000 metric tons are harvested annually), broad beans were chosen as their basic ingredient.
The outcome initially had a bitter flavor. But balancing the elements took a while. According to Wallman and Shokouhi, developing the ideal substitute for avocados is difficult.
Ecovocado might not equate to the real one
The Ecovocado is a product that shows promise. Others in the field, though, find a drawback to the product. The Ecovocado might not succeed as a substitute for an actual avocado, according to Dr. Wayne Martindale, an associate professor of food insights and sustainability at the University of Lincoln in the UK.
Dr. Martindale examines the qualities of avocado byproducts that can be used to make cutlery, lubricants, and other useful goods. Furthermore, he added that authorities’ moderation should be the main concern in the environmental debate over the avocado trade rather than the method of production.
Shokouhi hopes that despite this, people would think and consider supporting the Ecovocado.
“The taste maybe is not 100% exactly like avocado, but that doesn’t matter as an alternative as long as you can have it on your sourdough, and it tastes good, and it looks the same, and it’s healthy,” she said.