Avocado is one of my favorite fruits, even before it became the in-thing for hipster cafes and restaurants. Whether as part of your toast or as a dessert staple with condensed milk or as a guacamole dip, it’s one of those all-around fruits that I enjoy eating. But not all countries are avocado-rich and for those that have to import them, it’s actually one of the most unsustainable, energy-intensive, and resource-intensive crops. What if you could have the flavor and texture of it without having to spend as many resources and energy on it?
Designer: Arina Shokouhi
A graduate from the London school Central Saint Martins has come up with an avocado alternative called Ecovado. Basically it’s foodstuff made from broad beans, hazelnut, apple, and rapeseed oil and it’s trying to evoke the creamy texture and taste of the fruit. It is also packaged in avocado skin that’s actually made from wax and not the real thing, to give you the feeling that you’re really eating an actual avocado. It was created specifically for the British market as avocados are apparently hard to come by.
It was pretty challenging to find local, natural, and low-impact ingredients to create something that would taste and feel like actual avocados. The creamy flavor and texture is what some people find really compelling about this fruit so to create a substitute that will not come close to it would be a failure. Shokouhi worked with a food scientist from the University of Nottingham’s Food Innovation Centre to come up with this recipe for Ecovado.
Even though broad beans can be a bit bitter and have a bean-y flavor, they were able to reduce it so it will not show up that much in the flavor. They also added creamed hazelnut to bring the nuttiness and the creaminess to the foodstuff. Cold-pressed rapeseed oil was chosen as well instead of the more ideal olive oil since the former is more readily available in the U.K and is closer to the fatty acid profile of the real avocado. The “stone” part is actually a whole actual nut like walnut, chestnut, or hazelnut, depending on what’s available.
Even the packaging of the Ecovado is biodegradable and compostable as it’s made of wax with food coloring. You can even upcycle it to a candle in case that’s your favorite color or there’s an actual scent coming off of it. As to whether people would buy this avocado alternative, I’m still glad I don’t have to settle for anything else as the actual fruit is plentiful here over on my side of the world. But if you live in places where it has to be imported, then maybe it is the next best thing if you’re concerned about carbon footprint.