For better or for worse, avocados are as intrinsically woven into the “millennial” identity as the impossibility of home ownership and the insurmountable burden of student debt. We eat them, we talk about them and we love them with an unbridled obsession that’s usually reserved for household pets.
But it seems our generation is not alone. In fact, people around the world are so taken with the concept of consuming “healthy fats” (like the ones purported to be found in avocado) the average price of products like olive oil, butter, salmon and (obviously) avocados have risen up to 60 percent since 2013, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
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This shift is due to a number of factors, but the result is that proprietors are working overtime to find ways to meet compounding consumer demand. The worldwide production of salmon has grown hugely since 1998, and salmon prices have doubled since 2012.
Just a couple of years ago, prevailing theory led many to stick to rigorous low-fat diets and pray on the altar of “complex carbohydrates.” However, a resurgent global interest in eating “clean” and eschewing processed food is one example of an evolving dietary perception that’s changed consumer habits. “Government agencies and nutritionists are recommending that people avoid consuming industrial-made fats and margarines and instead eat more fish, nuts and healthier oils,” Wall Street Journal reporter Lucy Craymer writes.
Western tastes for all things avocado are well-documented, but the truly novel surge in the global healthy fats business can be found in China, where avocado imports have doubled in recent years, and then some. There appears to be something eternally undeniable about this fatty, delicious fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit) that lends itself to endless interpretations and regional cultural culinary experimentation as this TimeOut guide to avocado toast shows. And given that this is “a food trend that seemingly peaked pre-2010,” there’s clearly something more at work keeping consumers reaching for the delicate, nobbly delicacy in supermarkets around the world.
And as already noted, it’s not just fish and avocado that has grocery shoppers in a tizzy: WSJ also found that worldwide butter consumption has leapt 13 percent within the last decade.
It’s as yet unclear how long “healthy fats” will rule the roost when it comes to prevailing diet theory, but one thing’s for sure: avocados taste a hell of a lot better than cottage cheese, which was once an item-du-jour within the classic low-fat celebrity food regimen.