Beyond Football: Colombian Avocados Score Big

BY: 
Catherine A. Jones
 | February 20, 2024

One of the country’s most anticipated sporting events has come and gone: the Super Bowl. And, contrary to what many believe, the big day was not just about football, or the Usher halftime show, or those $7 million-for-30-seconds commercials. Super Bowl LVIII marked a big day for another star, Colombian avocados.

Hungry football fans at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV may not have known it, but one of the snack stars of the day traveled over 2,000 miles to get there. 

Before the big day, the Corporation of Hass Avocado Producers and Exporters of Colombia, or Corpohass, announced: “1,496 tons of Colombian Hass Avocado will accompany the popular sports celebration in the United States.” 

The Colombian avocado group clearly has a plan. It aims to challenge Mexico’s avocado supremacy.

“Events such as the Super Bowl allow us to publicize the reality of our sector, what is behind each fruit, so that it is clear how it contributes to the sustainable development of the country,” Katheryn Mejía Vergel, Executive Director of Corpohass explains.

Thanks to growing demand, Colombian avocados now compete with their Mexican and Californian counterparts for a place at the American table. Are Colombian avocados as good? Based on their growing popularity, the answer is “Yes!” But when did the South and Central American avocado become so popular in the U.S.? 

Turns out, avocado lovers have the Super Bowl to thank for their healthy obsession.

From Field to Stadium: Colombian Avocados Make a Splash

Avocados trace their roots back 10,000 years to tropical Mexico, Guatemala, and the West Indies. Some believe avocados originated in Africa before making their way to North America. 

“The ahuacate, a pebbly-skinned, pear-shaped fruit, had been a staple food in Mexico, and Central and South America since 500 B.C.,” NPR explains. “In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors fell in love with the fruit after observing its prized status among the Aztecs.”

But the avocado reached its superstar popularity in the 1990s, when avocado farmers united to boast its superfood properties. 

“The avocado industry set their sights on the Super Bowl and introduced a new campaign, the guacamole bowl,” the outlet Cheddar explains. “Hundreds of guacamole samples were given out to sports and news reporters leading up to Super Bowl day in hopes of creating a trend. … It was a smash hit and over time it became a Super Bowl ritual.”

Today, decades later, the United States reigns supreme in avocado consumption, devouring an average of 8.43 pounds per person annually. In 2021, Avocados from Mexico exported a staggering 24 billion pounds to the U.S., most of which came from a single 275,000-square-foot farm.

As for Colombian avocados in the U.S., Corpohass projects that Colombian Hass Avocado exports will grow by about 20 percent in 2024, which is equivalent to at least 147,244 tons of the fruit. “This implies a continuous effort to formalize rural work, gender equity, knowledge transfer and social welfare,” the company writes on its website.

The Avocado Craze

“On Instagram, a ‘basic’ – in every sense of the word – search for the hashtag #avocado currently returns over 8.3 million posts,” the BBC writes. “There are lattes served within avocado husks; knitted avocado toys; avocado-themed Easter Eggs; avocados on greetings cards; and, most recently, the sight of somehow not-single men in America proposing using avocados as ring-bearers.”

At the peak of avocado toast’s popularity, over 3 million photos of this delectable dish flooded Instagram during the summer of 2017. 

“Avocado consumption is so rife that, in 2016, Australian millennials were told they’d stand more chance of being able to afford property if they gave up buying so many,” the BBC explains.

And, every July 31, the world celebrates Avocado Day. 

Guacamole, the iconic avocado-based dip, bridges cultures and cuisines. Whether paired with tortilla chips or dolloped on tacos, guacamole is a universal language of flavor.

BLT Wraps with Avocado Spread 

Grab an avocado and create a nutritious menu for a lunchtime craving or busy weeknight. 

Add tortillas and a few favorites from the refrigerator to make these BLT Wraps with Avocado Spread, which are perfect for meal-prepping weekday lunches or whipping up at a moment’s notice for a family dinner. 

Bacon, a nearly unanimous favorite, teams up with a homemade avocado spread, lettuce and tomatoes for fresh taste without the hassle.

For a satisfying meal without leaving behind health goals, serve with a hearty salad or Spanish rice and banana peppers on the side.

BLT Wraps with Avocado Spread

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

8 slices bacon
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
¼ cup sour cream
1 lime, juice only 
½ teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
4 flour tortillas
4 large red leaf lettuce leaves
2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Spanish rice (optional)
Banana peppers (optional)

Directions:

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Drain on plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash avocado, sour cream, lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and salt with a fork until combined and smooth.

Spread a thin layer of avocado mixture over tortillas. Layer with lettuce leaves, tomatoes and bacon. Fold sides up and roll.

Serve with Spanish rice and banana peppers, if desired.

Visit our friends at freshexpress.com to discover more recipes and find a store near you.

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