Bring on the Guacamole

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To the Editors of American Demographics: I'm looking for information on avocado consumption. Specifically, I'd like to know the age, sex, household income, and education levels of people who buy the most avocados. About how many avocados are purchased in a given year? Thanks, Gailya Silhan Local Sales Manager, KRTH-FM Los Angeles

Dear Gailya: We couldn't have asked for a more appropriate Reader Request. Not only is this our special "green" issue, but we're also smack in the middle of avocado season.

It's believed that the avocado was discovered in Mexico around 290 B.C. (We know you didn't ask for a history lesson, but this does qualify as a cool fact.) The Aztecs consumed the avocado, then considered a tasteless fruit, believing it was a sort of sexual stimulant. Today, avocados are used worldwide in everything from cosmetics to milk shakes - although it's safe to say most Americans prefer avocados as guacamole. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that last year the world consumed 1,121,500 metric tons of the fruit, with the U.S. alone consuming 204,000 metric tons, up 12,797 metric tons from last year.

Who's buying all those avocados? To answer that question, we asked our friends at market research firm Digital Marketing Services to conduct an online poll on 1,000 Americans. We found that the average U.S. household buys 0.62 avocados each month. However, only 31 percent of all households admitted to purchasing at least one avocado a month. Of the avocado-buying bunch, 53 percent, (16 percent of the U.S. population) buy one avocado a month, 32 percent (10 percent of the U.S.) buy two to three, and 15 percent (5 percent of the U.S.) buy four or more.

Americans aged 50 and over buy the most avocados: 20 percent of them buy two or more per month. This green fruit is also likely to pack refrigerator crispers of middle-income households (households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $99,999). On average, this set buys 28 percent more avocados than the average American. A college education also seems to increase a person's appetite for the fruit. In fact, finding an avocado eater among the high school educated is not easy. Only 23 percent of those who have a high school education or less ever buy avocados, while 32 percent of the college crowd pick up at least one a month. Bon appetit! John Fetto Associate Editor

How to reach us: Fax: (212) 683-4364 E-mail: Address: 470 Park Avenue South; 7th Floor North; New York, NY 10016

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