I have typically enjoyed the odd avocado here and there over my life and I admit the modern craze for these things may be a little overrated. They’re great seasoned and of course contain essential nutrients, perfect for the vegan diet; but can they really be classified as Vegan?
I found an article not long ago on Facebook stating that avocados are running out and that they are technically not vegan. I dismissed it as propaganda but I still could not wipe the article from my mind. This led to me shopping more consciously and unfortunately for my diet meant cutting out avocados. Although I hadn’t yet known the facts, I decided it was for the better not to buy them until I do.
A couple of weeks ago an advert came out about palm oil which struck outrage everywhere and led to a worldwide awareness of the destruction of palm oil farming. This being an issue I had been aware of for years I couldn’t help but wonder about avocados. I recalled the article stating something about deforestation to farm them, but still, I was never completely certain.
On my recent visit to England, I had ordered avocado on toast from a restaurant and I have to say I felt rather guilty about doing so. After this I discovered myself becoming more and more annoyed as people took to the Internet to range about this long on-going palm oil issue. What angered me about this was the lack of talk of the issue with avocados. Although I possessed no right to be angry, right? True, because I had not until now undertaken the research.
So I decided to look a bit deeper. From what I could find I figured there are three main reasons why avocados may not vegan. The first being migratory beekeeping. This being an act that uses bees to pollinate the avocados. Does not sound like an issue right? Well, I thought so too, but it seems that the bees are being forced to only pollinate avocado plants. This can deprive them of the sufficient range of nutrients they would receive if they pollinated many diverse plants, as they would do naturally. The bees are transported between farms to pollinate the avocados, therefore, kept in containers. Another issue I came to find with this is that avocados are very difficult to keep. The slightest shift in whether or a new element in the soil can kill them. This leaves these specifically adapted bees with no food. So for those of you who dream honey unsuitable for vegans due to the exploitation of bees, this may also be a problem.
Secondly, I found that due to the popularity of avocados the prices are going up. Whilst this may not be an issue, it is for the employees who labour all day long to supply these delicious fruits or vegetables? It’s still not completely clear. Many workers in the Mexican region have been going on strike due to the unfair wage pay. Avocados are being sold for up to five times higher than what these workers are being paid. Unless a fair wage is agreed upon, this leaves the trade of avocados as an unethical business.
Finally, I found out that due to the high demand for avocados in recent times more land is needed to produce these products. And how do they obtain this land? By chopping down the rainforest. In a recent article I found that in the region of Mexico, where most avocados are grown, around fifty thousand acres of forest is destroyed for agricultural reasons. And around thirty to forty percent of this is due to avocado farming. This leaves me thinking if people are outraged about palm oil deforestation shouldn’t this be an issue too?
I’ll remain honest I’m still not completely sure on my view of avocado. I don’t expect everyone who reads my article to suddenly stop purchasing this product. But I hope that it inspires people to do a little research. So, are avocados vegan? Hmm debatable perhaps, food for thought?
I'm just trying to share a little love and make the world a better place! <3