Expensive Avos

July 2009

If you go to the Heart Foundation’s website, it says of the ticks of approval system: “The Heart Foundation is supportive of any initiative that genuinely guides people to healthier food and drink choices.”

Sound fairly straightforward, doesn’t it? But consider this:

I recently received a press release for a new product called Avo which, the publicist proudly told me, was “made with 20% all-natural avocado oil” and has received the “highly praised red tick of approval by the National Heart Foundation. That’s 20% avocado oil; it’s 80% who knows what.

But we’re assured, it’s cholesterol-free, comprises less than 1% trans fats and is lower in saturated fats and sodium than existing food spreads.

Here’s the thing. Avo costs $4.99 for 375g. Last time I looked, my local fruit and veg was selling 100% avocado avocadoes for $2, weighing in at around 240g each. Do the math. That works out at around $8 a kilo for the real thing, and $80 a kilo for Avo — giving them the benefit of the doubt that the 20% is all avocado.

So here’s my question: Why wouldn’t you spread a real avocado on your bread? It contains no trans fats, plenty of vitamins E and C, folate and potassium. If you’re worried about cholesterol (I’m not), it doesn’t have any because no vegetable foods do and it’s full of mono-unsaturated fats, which lower blood-cholesterol levels.

Avo. Another expensive and useless factory food with a red tick from the National Heart Foundation. I wonder whether an avocado would get a tick…

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