Are you eating more guacamole now than you did 15 years ago? As it turns out, back in the good old 1990s avocado was not a common ingredient in salads and sandwiches, and guacamole was mostly rhymed with holy. Back then it was mainly a California thing, both in terms of production and consumption. But now the “alligator fruit” is in every state, occupying a prime spot in sandwiches, salads and healthy eating minds. And incidentally, while some people call it alligator fruit for its knobby appearance, the word “avocado” actually originates from an Aztec word for testicles. Who would have guessed? Avocados were not widely imported into the U.S. until 2007 when imports from Mexico were allowed thanks to the post NAFTA era. Mexico supplies 60 percent of U.S. avocados. But it’s not just us. The entire world is eating more guacamole.
Thanks to great marketing campaigns launched by people who wanted to sell avocados, the fruit has undergone an image makeover, transforming it from a lump of fat into a superfood, able to ward off all manner of ills, such as gout, while also helping the body absorb carotene and lutein – whatever they may be. It’s the “good” fat, if you can use the words “fat” and “good” in a sentence, with a straight face. Of course back in the real old days, sailors ate mashed avocados and called it “midshipman’s butter. Now there is a movement underway aiming to swap out mashed avocados (25 calories per tablespoon) for butter (perhaps 4 times as much). In any case, avocados generated $2.9 billion in sales in 2011 and this year that figure might increase significantly thanks to Subway, Perkins and Panera all promoting their avocado laced menu items. And here’s a fun fact: Last Superbowl Sunday 71.4 million pounds of avocados were consumed.