Is the taste of an avocado worth 320 litres of water? We don’t think so, especially during a summer of high temperatures, wildfires and droughts.
The solution – the Evocado – replacing one of the most unsustainable crops in the world. This was Arina Shokouhi’s project for her Masters in Material Futures at University of Arts London.
The inspiration came when Arina became vegan. She hoped her new diet would benefit the environment, but then she found out the facts about her favourite fruit:
- Each avocado requires 320 litres of water to grow and harvest internationally.
- They are difficult to export because of their delicate, easy-to-bruise nature.
- They are grown in labour-intensive, plantation-style farms.
- To get a high-quality grade avocado, farmers must use tons of pesticides to protect their orchards.
- And the global demand for avocados is driving deforestation in some of the most diverse landscapes in the world.
“Having resource-intensive fruit or vegetables out of season can be bad,” Arina says. “So, I thought a positive solution was to design a new local and low-impact version of the avocado.”
This innovative product was a collaboration with scientist Jack Wallman at the Food Innovation Centre in Nottingham, who helped her analyse the avocado and work on substitute ingredients for its delicate flavour. Hazelnut, apple and rapeseed are all in there, but the main constituent is broad beans. This makes a pale green, creamy foodstuff. Package it in a fake skin, fashioned from wax, and pop in the alternative to the avocado stone: a walnut.
The Evocado is not yet in production, but Shokouhi hopes to make it a commercial concern.
We created our own version with butter beans, grated apple, hazelnut butter and rapeseed oil. It isn’t green, but if you close your eyes you wouldn’t know the difference! 🙂