Is your brunch obsession killing the avocados?

The world is running out

The rise and rise of the avocado’s popularity among health fanatics and ladies-who-brunch has raised concerns over the fruits’ sustainability. According to experts, heatwaves and crippling droughts across North America, in particular California, have destroyed both avocado fruit and trees. Whilst damage to the current crop is guaranteed, the potential future detriment is uncertain. The California Avocado Commission president Tom Bellamore explained: “After the heat, it takes a while for the effects to manifest themselves, so at this point, we’re uncertain if there is a loss or not to next year’s crop.”

Regardless, the combined effects of drought, heat and labour shortages mean “there are not enough avocados in the industry right now to supply the demand”, says Heath Shoup of West Pak Avocado.

It doesn’t help that the avocado is generally bad at being a fruit, requiring 280 litres of water to produce just one pound of avocados – hardly helpful in a drought. It’s a genuine scientific mystery how they didn’t go extinct a million years ago. But here they are, and we’re eating them into extinction.

For now, at least, there are enough avocados to supply brunch destinations around the world, whilst their future depends on scientists trying to reduce the effects of drought by experimenting with high-density planting and creating avocados that require less water. Avocado toast will live another day, if only we have to pay a little more to get our fix.