Is the Avocado ruining the world?

When we look at food and the carbon footprint associated with it, we often see people looking at the avocado and use it as a shining example of a food that has a huge carbon footprint. The footprint isn’t as much around the growth, although the land created to grow them to meet the first world demand is always expanding, but more from the plantation sites to the shops in the first world countries. We see that the transportation and packaging on average for one avocado creates a 0.19kg carbon footprint. To give this some context, it is five times more than eating a banana!

Should we look at this as more of an example of our shopping habits oppose to highlighting one fruit as the reason for the rise in carbon? The modern society is used to eating foods that are not grown in their home nation. They are often flown or shipped across the globe. We are more than likely to always want avocado in salads, dips and as part as a healthy breakfast so why not look at a less carbon heavy route to sort the issue. We all want to do the right thing and cut out carbon footprint however is avoiding fruit and veg that is shipped in across the globe going to stop that? The economic impact to that region could be devastating as they are forced to change the plantation from an Avocado to a rival fruit or veg. Then there is a question around demand? Do we focus on the packaging on the products or do we address the fact that a very high percentage of the fruit and veg that is shipped to the UK does not make it to the supermarket shelf due to perceived imperfections? Does the consumer only buy Bananas that are certain shape and colour, cucumbers too. Nature doesn’t grow fruit and vegetables to these exact specifications so we are seeing food being shipped/flown across the world only to be turned down in supermarkets once they get to their destination. Fruit can be different shapes and sizes or if they supermarket is concerned then, why not charge a lower rate for ‘unattractive fruit’? The other option is not to waste it but give it to charities or foodbanks? As long as it goes somewhere other than the bin makes sense to us. While there is demand for fruit that isn’t grown in the native nation, then there will always be the carbon footprint associated with it. Therefore, the only way to tackle (short term) is to focus on reducing the waste and ensure that more fruit that is imported is consumed. This way, the farmers who grow the fruit wins as they make money, the consumer gets the products they desire and if we eat more then the total footprint per shipment could be seen as being lower.

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