Photo Credit: Arina Shokouhi
One of the foods that are exchanged the most in the modern world is avocado, sometimes known as “green gold” by the worldwide market. Because of the diverse uses of its constituent parts, it has grown in popularity. The World Economic Forum estimates that each year, consumers purchase more than eleven billion pounds of avocados.
This shows that there is a healthy market for avocados. However, the environment is suffering, even though the avocado market is booming. Growing avocados has its drawbacks, including these: One, producers need to utilize a minimum of 2,000 liters of water to grow one kilogram of avocados. Two, to accommodate avocado crops, businesses must simultaneously destroy forests as demand rises. These two aspects persuaded a London researcher to develop a unique method for lowering the demand for avocado cultivation.
An ecologically responsible avocado was designed by designer and researcher Arina Shokouhi. With her great concept, which she named the “Ecovocado,” Shokouhi seeks to convince customers to forego buying “actual avocadoes” from the market, given the destructive impacts 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 stated.
Getting to know the Ecovocado
At first look, customers find it difficult to distinguish the Ecovocado from its counterpart. Beeswax is used to create the product, and the avocado’s peel is mimicked with natural food coloring created from spinach and charcoal powders.
The Ecovocado uses specially chosen ingredients for its meat to resemble an avocado’s flavor and appearance closely. Broad beans, apples, cold-pressed rapeseed oil, and hazelnut garnish are all ingredients in the Ecovocado meat, according to the product’s manufacturer. Shokouhi used a whole hazelnut or chestnut as the source of the pit.
The outcome of Shokouhi’s master’s program in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins is the Ecovocado. A food scientist from the University of Nottingham named Jack Wallman was her teammate. Wallman assisted Shokouhi in finishing the Ecovocado because he had researched the molecular characteristics of avocados. According to the researchers, developing the recipe required nearly eight months of laborious work.
“(The) choice of ingredients was very limited, to begin with, because I want it to be 100% local. That was my first priority,” added Shokouhi.
Garden peas and broccoli were earlier ingredients taken into account during the preparation. However, she was forced to abandon it since the taste of the ingredients was unpleasant. Using locally produced commodities as the primary ingredients were part of Shokouhi’s vision. They chose broad beans because they were simple to grow and because it is a growing market in the UK, where 740,000 metric tons of broad beans are harvested annually.
It initially left a bitter taste in the mouth. Hence, balancing the ingredients took some time. Developing the ideal substitute for avocado, according to Wallman and Shokouhi, is tough.
Ecovocado might not be a good substitute for the real avocado
The Ecovocado is a product with such promise. Other industry professionals do notice a drawback with the product, though. Dr. Wayne Martindale, an associate professor of food insights and sustainability at the University of Lincoln in the UK, asserts that the Ecovocado might not end up being a feasible substitute for an actual avocado.
Dr. Martindale examines the properties of avocado byproducts that can be used to create cutlery, lubricants, and other useful goods. He also added that authorities’ moderation should be the main concern in addressing the environmental problem associated with the avocado trade rather than the producing method.
Shokouhi wishes for people to still think about Ecovocado in spite of this.
“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 stated.
Opinions expressed by US Insider contributors are their own.