Why Does Everyone Suddenly Love Avocados?

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Charlie Miller dives into an avocado, spoon first. Photo by Ethan Gathman
Avocado-
Infographic by Ethan Gathman made using VISME.

Here’s a big question 2017 left behind: Why avocado?

It may not be the question that keeps you awake, pondering late into the night, but answers are sorely needed. Why avocados? People are obsessed with them, but why?

According to Kathleen Grace, a former marketing coordinator at California Avocados, avocados were once a very regional food. They would mostly be served in states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, while other states stuck to their regionally-traditional foods. But during the ’80s and ’90s, chain restaurants started expanding across the country, bringing their foods to places that had never experienced them before. Avocados were one of these foods.

Also, a lot of the avocado’s popularity might be attributed to the relaxation of US import laws. Until the late 1990s, it was illegal to ship avocados from Mexico to the United States, making California the sole provider of the fruit. (Yup — avocado is a fruit!) But when the laws were lifted in 1997, changes were imminent. The number of avocados grown in Mexico and sold in the US increased to 40 percent by 2000; five years later, that figure was at 67 percent.

The consumption of avocados in America skyrocketed. According to the Washington Post, the number of avocados consumed per year went from about one billion in 2000 to over 4 billion in 2014.  

But aside from availability, one has to wonder: What special something made this once-rare snack into the mainstream phenomenon that it is now?

As the avocado traveled to every corner of the country, people started to recognize it for its nutritional value. Avocados have high potassium counts and are loaded with fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids — and that only scratches the surface. When people started to take notice of the health benefit, the avocado’s climb to fruit stardom was cemented. 

Its association with healthy, clean living made it very popular at restaurants and grocery stores. Many restaurants, like Subway, offer more expensive versions of their sandwiches and dishes that include avocados.

Despite the higher prices, Americans have quickly gotten on board with avocados. Here are just a few the crazy recipes that the internet suggests when it comes to this green fruit: the eggocado, avocado pancakes, avocado margaritas, and avocado mashed potatoes.

Perhaps the craziest, though, is the now- infamous avolatte: a coffee drink served in an avocado’s skin.

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