By Ts ChM Dr Raseetha Vani Siva Manikam & Nur Imanina Zaini
The consumption of avocado has been on the rise in the latest trend, especially in healthy eating diet plans. When it comes to salad and wraps, avocado is usually added as one of the toppings. Nowadays, the fruit is widely used even in drinks such as milkshakes, as well as in baked goods such as cakes and muffins.
We even have plenty of trendy cafes specialising in avocado-based foods located throughout the Klang Valley. For instance, Avocadian, Avobar, Bo The Avocado, and Avosome are some of the places that can provide you yummy avocado treats.
It is pretty well known that avocados possess a soft and creamy texture. In fact, the pulp typically consists around 66.67% of monounsaturated fatty acids, which makes it a healthier option. On top of that, the fruit also contains up to 4% protein, while having a low amount of carbohydrate sugar. Additionally, avocado is also packed with micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins.
Hence, avocado is claimed to be four times more nutritional as compared to many other fruits, but with banana in exclusion.
The consumption of avocado has resulted in discretion of its seed, peel, and defatted paste as fruit waste. These by-products make up about 30% of the fruit weight which contributes to the increased number of municipal solid waste over time.
It was reported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) that the global amount of food loss and food waste that are taking place around the world is estimated to be approximately one third of total production amount, hence it is crucial to get the amount under control to reduce the effect on the Earth.
The United Nations (UN) and European Commission from the European Union (EU) highlighted in Goal 12 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): Sustainable Consumption and Production Pattern to ensure the food waste amount at retail and consumer level to be halved from the current amount by 2030. Furthermore, food loss in the manufacturing and supply chains are expected to be decreased as part of this goal.
Following SDG goals, there have been many studies carried out to reduce the waste. Based on previous studies, avocado seeds have been proven to contain plenty of beneficial components including fibre, protein, and many bioactive compounds.
Some of the functional applications of the seeds that have been successfully proven are the production of biodiesel, extraction of starch content, as well as development into food preservatives for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the seed can also be processed into flour which can be applied in many ways.
The seed is currently being explored to be developed into a novel plant butter which can be an alternative option for nuts and cereal butter that could be sold in the market. This can be greatly beneficial to the food industry as it was recently reported that the price of cereals such as wheat, corn, soy, and many more will undergo increment as a consequence of the Russia-Ukraine War.
Although Malaysia is not directly involved in the ongoing war, the rising price of the ingredients will affect our economy as it is expected that the price of crude palm oil (CPO), chicken, and poultry feed will be continuously escalating due to the shift in the global market affected by the war.
In addition, utilisation of the avocado seed can also contribute to the reduction of agricultural waste in our country. In 2016, Malaysia generated over 25,000 tonnes of domestic waste daily with an over 31 million population. Among the amount of waste mentioned, 45% of them are organic waste which includes agricultural food waste. It was reported that the amount of food waste produced in Malaysia increased significantly over the year. Therefore, it is important to plan the waste management.
Additionally, the study of avocado seed is in accordance with the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (2021-2025) that was introduced by the Malaysian government back in September 2021. In the plan, Malaysia has pledged to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity up to 45% by 2030. On top of that, Kuala Lumpur City Hall also has declared its goal to become a net zero carbon city by 2050.
Agricultural waste possesses numerous valuable components; hence it should not be simply wasted. The effort of utilising it can contribute greatly to the Earth. The study of providing an eco-friendly and sustainable world will eventually bestow humans a better life.
Ts ChM Dr Raseetha Vani Siva Manikam is Senior Lecturer, Food Science and Technology Programme, at the Faculty of Applied Sciences, UiTM, Shah Alam, Selangor.
Nur Imanina Zaini is a Bachelor’s Degree Student, School of Food Science and Technology Programme, at the Faculty of Applied Sciences, UiTM, Shah Alam, Selangor.