Forget avo toast: Bread made with avocados could be the next viral sensation

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Trendsetter, viral sensation and health booster: the humble avo is a neat bundle of creamy hygge - but it's also an object of greed and violence. Pic: GettyImages
Trendsetter, viral sensation and health booster: the humble avo is a neat bundle of creamy hygge - but it's also an object of greed and violence. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Avocado Anthony & Sons Bakery Clean label health & wellbeing Taste functional benefits plant-based

New Jersey-based Anthony & Sons Bakery is hoping to recreate the viral frenzy of the 2010s – probably the most prominent moment in avo toast history when Gwyneth Paltrow sent the internet spiralling – with the launch of its latest brand, The Avocado Bread Company (ABC), which taps into not one, but four of today’s key trends.

The deceptively simple pairing of creamy avo on crunchy bread started to take hold in the early 1990s, when Sydney chef Bill Granger added it to the menu of his trendy Darlinghurst café. But it was the American actress, author, health activist and founder of lifestyle company Goop that sent the humble dish into the stratosphere. In the 2013 print of It’s All Good, Paltrow advocated the holy trinity of vegan mayo, a few slices of perfectly ripe avo and Maldon salt, atop toasted slices of gluten-free bread.

One whole avo – without the skin and seed – packs in:

  • Calories: 322 calories
  • Protein: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 17g
  • Folate: 163μg
  • Vitamin K: 42μg
  • Vitamin C: 20mg
  • Vitamin E: 4mg
  • Potassium: 975mg
  • Magnesium: 58mg

Millennials went wild, avo toast went viral and variations on the theme escalated, from adding Cholula hot sauce to being topped with fluffy grated eggs and swapping out toast for roasted sweet potatoes. The internet loved the unctuous fruit – which, in fact, was first domesticated in Mesoamerica more than 5,000 years ago – and there was even a change.org campaign to introduce an avo emoji.

The reason it went viral? It hooked into the fast-growing health trend.

Avos burst with all the good things like protein, omega 3 fatty acids (good fats) and essential nutrients (more potassium than a banana), and also the perfect antioxidant, vegetarian, gluten-free and feel good – about themselves and the ailing planet – ingredient that Millennials were craving.

But while serious foodies were experimenting with what was on top, not much attention was given to what was below. Until now.

Enter the ABC

Anthony_Sons_Bakery_Logo

“We are excited to officially launch our one-of-a-kind line of avocado bread products under The Avocado Bread Company,”​ said Ben Rizzitello, VP of Marketing for Anthony & Sons Bakery.

“Our delicious avocado bread is packed with 21 grams of whole grains per slice, making this line the latest power bread to hit the market. The initial response has been tremendous, and we are looking forward to getting our newly introduced products into the homes of consumers.”

The star of ABC’s launch is an Avocado Seeds & Grains Bread – made with ripe avocados and an original blend of guacamole spices – and backed up with Avocado Seeds & Grains Dinner Rolls, Take & Bake Avocado Bread and Avocado Seeds & Grains Ciabatta Buns.

Sold in a sliced 24oz loaf, the Avocado Seeds & Grains Bread is designed for easy convenience (targeting both retail and foodservice channels). Also appealing is the functional benefits of the range, including powerhouse nutrients like healthy fats, fibre, antioxidants and whole grains (sunflower, oats and cracked wheat).

Avo toast Getty
Pic: GettyImages

However, the real hook is the embodiment of today’s culinary trends.

Plant-based

The ABC is pioneering a unique take on the avo, opening opportunities for other bakers to explore this trend.

Clean label

The ABC’s focus on clean ingredient products is right up there with health, sustainability and hygge.

Functional benefits

Today’s consumer wants more than just a snack that quells a craving or a baked good that fills a hole. They’re looking for ingredients that add nutritional value and health benefits: think food as medicine.

Taste exploration

No matter what’s trending, taste remains the consumer’s biggest motivator. But beyond just tasting good, they are looking for something that invokes escape, excitement, nostalgia and exploration.

“For us, it’s about developing a product that our customers will enjoy and offers great benefits,”​ said Rizzitello.

“We care about our community and the health and wellbeing of our customers. We treat our patrons like family.”

Baked in

Ciabatta bread Getty
Pic: GettyImages

Anthony & Sons’ passion for baking bread is woven into the family fabric.

After immigrating to the US in 1952 and spending 32 years perfecting the art of baking bread, Sicilian national Anthony Dattolo and sons Baldo and Joseph opened their first manufacturing plant in Fairfield, using recipes handed down from their European heritage to bring the flavour of Little Italy to New Jersey. In 2000, the bakery manufacturer inaugurated a 65,000 square foot fully automated facility in Denville, producing a range of authentic Italian breads and rolls for the wholesale, hospitality, foodservice and retail channel across the US.

The first Anthony & Sons Little Italy bakery-café opened in 2008 – becoming one of the most renowned café markets in the local area – which inspired a second location a few years later. But despite its success, the company remains focused on producing traditional, hand scored artisan breads for mass distribution without artificial flavours or additives.

“We are the leaders when it comes to developing products with clean, natural, non-GMO and zero trans-fat ingredients,”​ said Rizzitello.

A boast the company has transferred to its avo bread line.

“We test our ingredients constantly,”​ said Rizzitello, who is also a professional baker.

“We’re extremely selective about what goes into our products, testing all of the components that give the breads and rolls their flavour, light crumb and crisp crust. It’s very intricate.”

Social consciousness is also baked into every crumb of Anthony & Sons Bakery products. In addition to embracing the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s forest management standard – protecting wildlife habitats and promoting – the company is a member of how2recycle, a  smart packaging labelling system that encourages consumers to recycle.

“Anthony & Sons has proven to be the leader in innovation and has transformed the bread-baking industry. Our vision for the company is to continue to be the trendsetters and aggressively grow with the latest innovation, quality products, and service.”

The Avocado Bread Company’s Seeds & Grains Bread is available in select grocers across the US for an RRP of $5.99-$6.99.

Not so trendy

avo farmer Getty
Pic: GettyImages

Although social conversations about avo toast have declined by 85.38% over the past year, according to Tastewise, America’s insatiable appetite for the fruit has a dark side.

US demand has more than tripled since 2000 – Americans today consume almost 3 billion pounds of avocados each year – and 90% of the produce comes from Mexico, the leading global producer of avocados. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that in 2003, the country was importing around 55 million pounds of avos from Mexico, but this jumped to 2.25 billion pounds from 2019.

To keep up with demand, the country’s forests are being obliterated.

A report from Climate Rights International (CRI) – aptly titled Unholy Guacamole​ ​– reveals that more than 70,000 acres of Mexican forests have been cleared to farm the fruit over the past decade.

More shocking is its foundation in blood. Not surprising is the involvement of the cartels in an industry that is worth billions of dollars a year, but to keep that going, they often resort to intimidation, kidnapping and the murder of activists who dare to push back against the unchecked deforestation.

To this mix, add the enormous amounts of water being used by avo farmers, often “illegally extracted from streams, rivers, springs and underground aquifers”, ​which is causing widespread water shortages for local communities, according to CRI. Then there is the soil loss resulting in landslides, and intentionally set forest fires to clear out indigenous growth.

It’s estimated the area in Michoacán used for avocado crops could increase in size by more than 80% by 2050, with avo exploitation rising in sync as the American appetite grows.

It’s not just the Mexican government that has failed to stem the tide of such widespread destruction. The CRI firmly points the finger at the US government, alleging it “routinely certifies illegally deforested orchards to export to US consumers​ .

“With America’s hunger for avocados growing greater and greater every year, these problems will only continue to worsen if authorities don't act soon,” ​the authors state.

“Urgently enacting and implementing such regulations and policies is essential to averting climate catastrophe, and to protecting the rights of populations where the commodities are produced.”

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