Mexico: Taco lovers cry foul over restaurants' guac bait-and-switch

July 24 , 2019

As avocado prices continue to skyrocket in Mexico, some of the nation's taco restaurants are cutting high category costs with an unexpected type of fraud - 'faux guacamole'.

According to The Guardian, a number of taquerias have begun to substitute squash in their guac recipes, which reportedly results in a similar end product.

However, taco lovers are crying foul over the discovery that their guacamole might not be what it seems, it reports.

First uncovered on social media and reported in Chilango magazine, some taco stands in the country are substituting calabacitas – a bright green Mexican squash – for pricier avocados in the famous dip.

Once boiled and blended up with the traditional combination of ingredients – tomatillo, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno – it can be hard to tell the difference, the Guardian reports.

No one knows how long the guac bait-and-switch has been going on, and it likely isn’t just limited to taquerias in Mexico, warns the publication.

The factors behind the guac fraud

The reason behind the substitution is likely the soaring price of the beloved avocado, reports The Guardian.

It quotes Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, explaining.

“Basically, the prices have gone up significantly over the last year.”

That’s due to a poor crop last year in Mexico that many are still paying for. As a result, wholesale prices have doubled and retail prices have tripled, Charlebois says.

Rising border trade tensions are also forcing up prices. In addition, the crop in California was low. This was due to last summer’s devastating heatwave in central and southern California; the scorching temperatures slowed down the trees’ blooming, reports the publication.

“As the world gets hotter, we’d expect more viruses and problems with the crop,” it quotes Charlebois saying.

At the same time, the demand for the fruit is going up. No diet discriminates against avocados – not vegans, vegetarians, keto diet followers or omnivores, Charlebois points out. Everyone eats avocados, he says.

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