The World Avocado Organization has blasted a group of chefs for their “hypocrisy” after reports suggested the fruit was being removed from UK menus due to its water footprint.

The global non-profit warned the move, by a handful of London chefs and reported by The Guardian earlier this month, was “reviving a campaign of misinformation”, and argued the proposition by one chef to substitute avocado with imitation guacamole made of fava beans was paradoxical. 

This is because the crop required more than 5,000 litres of water to produce a single kilo of beans, or almost 10 times the water needed to produce one kilo of avocados, the WAO claimed.

“It is comical to see how these few London-based chefs propose to eliminate or substitute avocados with other products as is the case with the fake guacamole made with a product that requires the equivalent of almost 10 times more litres of water to produce a kilo of avocados,” said WAO CEO Xavier Equihua.

“It is equally difficult to understand how they can talk negatively about a product with such a small water footprint when their menus are full of products that require thousands and thousands of litres of water to produce a single kilo. If they really wanted to be allies of the environment, they would stop serving meat and dairy products and only serve products with a water footprint like avocados or less.”

The WAO, which was founded in 2016 and represents the main producers, exporters and importers of avocados around the world, said the industry had in recent years managed to produce avocados with less water, using an average of 600 litres per kilo. 

In comparison, it said meat required up to 14,000 litres to produce one kilo, while rice, pork and chicken needed 4,000, 4,300 and 6,000 litres respectively, according to IME and Water Footprint Network studies.

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