Avocados' water footprint: WAO responds amid chef pushback

WAO responds to misinformation avocados' water footprint amid reports of removal from menus

WAO responds to misinformation avocados' water footprint amid reports of removal from menus

The World Avocado Organization (WAO) has responded to recent pushback from chefs over avocados' water footprint, amid reports of the fruit being removed from menus in the U.K.

A handful of London chefs have decided to take avocados off their menus because of the trees' supposed water footprint and one chef has even proposed substituting it with an imitation guacamole.

The WAO said this was paradoxical, as the initiation is made with fava beans - a product that it says requires more than 5,000 litres of water to produce a single kilo, or almost 10 times the water needed to produce one kilo of avocados.

"This group of chef’s hypocrisy does not stop with the fake guacamole," the WAO press release stated, "as they also keep dozens of ingredients on their menus with a much larger water footprint than the avocado, including meat which requires up to 14,000 litres to produce one kilo and livestock production being the main agricultural source of greenhouse gases in the world."

Xavier Equihuathe CEO of the WAO said: “It is comical to see how these few London-based chefs propose to eliminate or substitute avocados with other products as is the case with the "fake" guacamole made with a product that requires the equivalent of almost 10 times more litres of water to produce a kilo of avocados."

"It is equally difficult to understand how they can talk negatively about a product with such a small water footprint when their menus are full of products that require thousands and thousands of litres of water to produce a single kilo. 

"If they really wanted to be allies of the environment they would stop serving meat and dairy products and only serve products with a water footprint like avocados or less."

Litre for litre, the water used to produce one kilo of avocados results in one of the highest nutritional returns for humans. Similarly, all avocados sold in Europe and the UK are GLOBALGAP certified. GLOBALGAP is an initiative that sets standards for safe, socially and environmentally responsible agricultural production practices.

In recent years, the global avocado industry has managed to produce avocados with less water using an average of 600 litres of water, while for popular foods such as rice, pork or chicken, this amount rises to 4,000, 4,300 and 6,000 litres respectively, according to studies such as those of the IME (https://bit.ly/2o8cdn3) and the Water Footprint Network (https://cutt.ly/XeTCHV7).

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