Whether they’re in your smoothies or your salads, as Brits, we can’t deny that we love avocados. When dining out for brunch, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything on the menu that doesn’t contain a trademark, bright green avocado.
So how did this avocado craze happen? It’s hard to think of a time before avocado and egg on sourdough toast, but there was once a time where avocados were embraced only by the elitists of the health and fitness world, and they were considered ‘exotic’ and a ‘speciality’ rather than a common staple of modern-day brunch.
Avocados were supposedly first introduced into UK supermarkets in 1968 by Marks & Spencer, and were originally called ‘avocado pears’. Us Brits did not take very well to them, and it ultimately took guacamole and Gwyneth Paltrow over 40 years later to convince us otherwise. Guacamole was being enjoyed in the US after the rise in Mexican food during the Superbowl, and people started wondering what more could be done with this unique and relatively unknown fruit.
This is when Gwyneth Paltrow began including avocados on toast as one of her staples in her cookbook ‘It’s All Good’. This teamed with the rise in clean-eating lifestyles gave momentum to the invention of innovative, healthy avocado-based recipes, with millennials hailing the avocado a ‘superfood’ with a shed-load of health benefits.
But could the reign of the avocado be coming to an end? We’ve heard about chia seeds and kale, but could there be another food taking over the spotlight? Well, according to Pebble Magazine, it seems the humble British carrot could be making a comeback.
The article states that carrots have been named as a ‘millennial must-have’ in the organic food industry: “The under 35s have bucked the trend to buy more organic produce, with carrots coming out as top of the bunch. In 2017, it's estimated, this group spent upwards of £3.1m on organic carrots (15.3% of all carrots sold by value in supermarkets in 2017 were organic).”
I for one can’t wait for the launch, but I can’t help but wonder: why the sudden surge in popularity? Mark Cheadle from RB Organic believes there are three key reasons for this sudden peak in carrot interest from millennials: “Buying homegrown vegetables, grown the traditional way, is important [to millennials]; so is social credibility, with the under 35s wanting to do good by buying organic; and ‘peacocking’ - where the buyer wants to share their knowledge so they can tell their friends and work colleagues.”
According to The Seed Collection, it’s not just the traditional carrot making a comeback, but its heritage varieties too: “The last few years have seen a resurgence in interest for older, more unusual types of carrot. It's now possible to buy carrots of all shapes, sizes, and colours if you look a little beyond the usual places.”
Like most vegetables, over time ‘supermarket’ carrots have been selectively bred in order to meet consumer tastes and to increase shelf life, size and nutrient density - but heritage carrots have always remained in the background, says The Seed Collection. “Many small-scale farmers continued to grow older types of carrots in colours ranging from familiar orange through to yellow or white, along with more exotic shades including the ancient purple and even black.”
So how can we keep ourselves ahead of the carrot curve? Experimenting with carrots and uncovering their full potential sounds like a good place to start, and I don’t just mean adding diced carrot to your morning smoothie!
To get you started, Epicurious has a great article on some unorthodox carrot recipes, which include making a homemade pizza but swapping out the tomato base for a carrot puree, pan-seared carrot steaks and carrot pickles.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s definitely time the avocado moved over to allow some other great superfoods to take the limelight. I am excited to see what new foods and recipes will be popping up on social media and I’m certainly be going to give them a try in my kitchen. But that won’t stop me ordering avocado toast at brunch though!