Mexican Avocados Score a Touchdown in Super Bowl LIVBy Daniel González | Fri, 01/31/2020 - 12:56
When Shakira and Jennifer Lopez take the stage next Sunday at the Hard Rock Cafe Stadium in Miami, Florida, to perform in the Super Bowl half-time show, US citizens will already have consumed several thousand tons of avocados when enjoying the great taste of guacamole. Throughout the years, the NFL, organizer of the event with the largest television audience in the United States, has realized that it needs three ingredients to make the Super Bowl a success: two football teams and tons of Mexican avocados.
According to the Mexican Association of Avocado Packers and Exporters (APEAM) by the end of this week Mexico will have exported 123,000 tons of avocados to the US, a number that could see an increase in the coming days to 127,000 tons. According to APEAM these figures represent a significant surplus over last year, when Mexico exported 120,000 tons during the Super Bowl weekend.
Michoacan is the Mexican state that has benefited most from avocado fever in the US. The state is considered the main producing region of avocados and the only one certified by the US Department of Agriculture. Avocados, known as “green gold” represent 84 percent of all exports from Michoacan, according to Ruben Medina, Secretary of Rural Development and Agri-Food of Michoacan. Super Bowl Avocado exports represent for Mexico an income of more than US$250 million says Medina.
However, the relationship between avocados, the Super Bowl, Mexico and the US was not always so buoyant. Between 1914 and 1997, the US banned Mexican avocados imports due to the appearance of the cattle screwworm and US agricultural authorities wanted to protect themselves from it. It was precisely in 1997 that the US border opened its doors for Mexican avocado imports. In 2005, avocados from Mexico began to be sold all across the 50 states, including California, the only avocado growing state in the US. Since then, avocado consumption in the US has not stopped. In 1997 there was a yearly per capita consumption of 500 grams and in 2019 this figure reached 3.5 kilograms for the US average consumption.
Exports of avocados are considered an economic success and we must also consider NAFTA, which came to be on January 1, 1994. This growth led to what consulting firm Nielsen calls “a multicultural middle class,” which is more open to cultural and gastronomic issues. This has led to an increase in consumption not only of avocados, but also of other Mexican staples such as tomatoes, cucumbers, mangoes, limes, eggplant, tequila, mezcal, or tamales. This increase in consumption is not led by the community of Mexicans living in the US, but by an American social class which is much more open to taste and consumption of international products.
Avocado fever has turned Mexico into one of the stars of the Super Bowl, and its star staple will be present in millions of households across the US. Nine out of 10 avocados consumed during the Super Bowl celebration will come from Mexico according to the Hass Avocado Board.