Cafes ban superfood over fears it fuels criminal cartelsIvy Madziva
Avocados are toast: Cafes ban superfood over fears it fuels criminal cartels
A cafe says it is “plain wrong” to import avocados on “fuel guzzling planes” to “satisfy our whim for the latest food trend”.
Wild Strawberry has replaced avocados with sauteed garlic mushrooms. File pic
It may be the beginning of the end for trendy avocado breakfasts with cafes now scrapping the fleshy fruits from their menus, citing fears about the environment and sustainability.
Leading the “controversial” fightback is the Wild Strawberry cafe in Buckinghamshire, which said it was “plain wrong” to continue serving items such as avocado on toast, with the popular ingredient being flown thousands of miles across the globe before reaching our plates.
In an Instagram post telling customers “this.is.not.a.joke”, the cafe – which uses avocados in some of its most popular dishes – said the demand for the fashionable “superfood” was driving criminal cartels in Mexico.
Wild Strawberry, which reportedly serves up 1,000 avocados a week, said it “thought long and hard” but wanted to keep its focus on locally sourced ingredients while addressing the issue of food miles and sustainability.
It said: “At a time when climate change concerns have never been more real, transporting ingredients in fuel guzzling planes from Central and South America, Africa and beyond just to satisfy our whim for the latest food trend, when we have a plentiful supply of perfectly delicious, nutritious food on our doorstep, is just plain wrong.”
The Instagram post added: “The western world’s obsession with avocado has been placing unprecedented demand on avocado farmers, pushing up prices to the point where there are even reports of Mexican drug cartels controlling lucrative exports.
“Forests are being thinned out to make way for avocado plantations. Intensive farming on this scale contributes to greenhouse emissions by its very nature and places pressure on local water supplies.”
In 2016, Greenpeace Mexico said people were likely to suffer too due to the “high use of agricultural chemicals and the large volumes of wood needed to pack and ship avocados”.
According to a 2012 report by Mario Tapia Vargas, a researcher at Mexico’s National Institute for Forestry, Farming and Fisheries Research, avocado production in Michoacan tripled and exports rose tenfold between 2001 and 2010.
The research suggested it caused a loss of forest land of about 690 hectares (1,700 acres) a year between 2000 and 2010.
Wild Strawberry owner Katy Brill told the Mail on Sunday that the move could turn out to be “the worst business decision I have ever made” but said her customers supported her decision.
She has now replaced avocados with sauteed garlic mushrooms.
Others to drop avocados include the Wildflower restaurant in south London and the Tincan Coffee cafe in Bristol, which replaced the item with pea guacamole.
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