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Chefs ditch avocados from Scottish menus in bid to be more environmentally friendly

Chefs in Scotland are ditching avocados from menus in a bid to be more environmentally friendly.

Published: June 23, 2019
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The much-loved brunch fruit has been a staple in trendy cafes and restaurants all over the country, but now several eateries in Glasgow and Edinburgh have banned them from the kitchen.

The green-skinned fruit, imported from South America, is being grown to the detriment of many who live near avocado farms which are often in drought-affected areas.

Peru, South Africa, Chile, Israel and Spain are the main suppliers to the UK, while Mexico is the largest producer worldwide.

Britain's water consumption associated with its yearly avocado intake has been estimated at 25 million cubic metres - or 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The Edinburgh Larder and Glasgow's Locavore cafe are among the Scottish firms scrapping the fruit.

Eleanor Cunningham, owner of the Edinburgh Larder, said: "I understand the appeal and health benefits of avocados but I don't think we should be using ingredients which can't be sustainable to continue producing on such a large scale."
In Glasgow, Reuben Chesters, who runs Locavore, said avocados were not served in the cafe.

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He said: "Avocados have become so trendy and that is a chef-led thing because people now want to make their dishes at home.

"To a smaller extent it is about veganism.

"It is a vegan [option] pushed by people looking for meat alternatives.

"If there is a drug trade involved, is that better than a free-range egg?"

Reports have emerged about incidences of Mexican cartels kidnapping farmers and seizing control of their avocado plots.

Some are reported to have made up to £150 million a year selling so-called "blood avocados" to the UK.

In 2016, Greenpeace Mexico said people were suffering due to the increasing demand, stating: "Beyond the displacement of forests and the effects on water retention, the high use of agricultural chemicals and the large volumes of wood needed to pack and ship avocados are other factors that could have negative effects on the area's environment and the wellbeing of its inhabitants."

The fightback against the avocado began in the UK in 2016, when the Wild Strawberry cafe in Buckinghamshire dropped them from its menu.

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In a social media post, the cafe stated that "the western world's obsession with avocado has been placing unprecedented demand" on farmers.

They added: "Forests are being thinned out to make way for avocado plantations.
"Intensive farming on this scale contributes to greenhouse emissions by its very nature."

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