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Avocado Versatility Inspires Crowds At Annual Festival

TAURANGA, Monday 21st January 2013: Over 1500 avocados were devoured in Katikati this weekend as New Zealand's avocado capital celebrated the superfruit's health and versatility in style, breaking the record of avocados consumed at last year's festival.

Celebrity Masterchef Nadia Lim headlined the 10th annual Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival at Uretara Domain on Saturday, and a huge crowd enjoyed avocado inspired mousse, ice cream and pizzas as well as cooking demonstrations and culinary competitions.

New Zealand Avocado CEO, Jen Scoular, says a staggering number of avocados were peeled, sliced, diced and mashed on the day, and it was great to see so many people celebrating one of nature's most nutritious and delicious ingredients.

NZ Avocado ambassador, Nadia Lim, and local celebrity chef, Peter Blakeway, both drew big crowds and taught people some exciting new ways to add good' fats to your diet and increase your heart health.

"Nadia and Peter created a range of amazing avocado dishes and really opened people's eyes to the endless ways to enjoy avocados. Nadia created an Asian avocado and prawn salad while Peter wowed the crowd with a delicious roast chicken with avocado and mini chicken avocado pizzas, Scoular says.

"Avocado lovers certainly picked up lots of new ideas and got to sample some delicious dishes, Scoular says.

Free samples of avocado chocolate mousse proved extremely popular, and showed just how perfect this summer ingredient can be for desserts.

An estimated 2000 people had the opportunity to relax in the sunshine, with bands performing throughout the day and six top wineries providing wine tastings, while guacamole lovers went head to head in a bid to create the best guacamole in Katikati.

"Nadia and Peter had a hard time judging the winners, Scoular says. "It was great to see people creating the famous dip and infusing their own ideas.

Children also competed for their share of the limelight, with avocado and spoon races and avocado art proving to be a big hit alongside more traditional fairground entertainment.

Festival organiser David Crispin says this year's event, which was jointly run by the Pakeke and Katikati Lions clubs, will donate proceeds from the festival to the Cancer Society Lodge in Hamilton.

For all of the delicious recipes created during the festival, including the guacamole competition winning recipe, visit http://www.nzavocado.co.nz/
Read More 08 Sep '16 Supercharge your kids lunchbox with avocado Photo

Supercharge your kids lunchbox with avocado

Back to school means getting back into a lunchbox routine. There s one superfood which will provide your kids with the essential nutrients they need to keep them full of energy at school.  Avocado is an increasingly popular addition to school lunchboxes as parents come up with clever ways to encourage their kids to eat it.   Including avocado in wraps, sandwiches or bread rolls; using it in place of mayonnaise, butter or margarine; and including it as a healthy ingredient when baking muffins, brownies and cupcakes, are all great ideas to up your kid s intake of this superfood.    Avocado bliss balls are also a lunchbox winner as they are easy to transport, kids love them and they pack a big nutritional punch in a small package.  Our avocado bliss balls recipe is delicious and super easy to make!  And it s well worth the effort. The protein, fibre and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat contained in avocados help create stable energy levels.  The oleic acid found in avocados helps tell your brain that your stomach is full, while the fibre and good fats take longer to digest so you don t feel hungry as often this also means kids are less likely to reach for sugary foods.  Avocados are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and B complex vitamins which contribute to a healthy nervous system and improved brain function including memory, focus and learning.  Opting for unprocessed foods like avocado will also reduce the overall amount of trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup your kids might eat during the day. Fresh food is always best to keep kids energy levels balanced and help them maintain their concentration.   So what are the best avocado lunchbox ideas?  You could pre-cut avocado into little cubes, prepare a small container of guacamole for them to dip crackers or carrot sticks into, or include it in their sandwiches, wraps or rolls.   To keep avocado fresh, just squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the top.  When baking, replace the butter in your recipe for the equivalent amount of mashed avocado instead. It s a healthy and creamy addition that will result in soft, moist cakes, muffins and other baked goods. Try making avocado brownies, avocado muffins, or avocado chocolate cake. Your kids won t be able to resist!  This amazing superfood delivers a host of other health benefits including boosting your immune system, promoting healthy vision, aiding healthy digestion and building strong muscles.   So when you re packing school lunchboxes this term, remember you re feeding more than just kids tummies. Give them food that is going to fuel their minds and benefit their bodies at the same time.

Read More 19 Aug '16 New Zealand avocados back on the menu soon Photo

New Zealand avocados back on the menu soon

New Zealand restaurants and cafes are being encouraged to follow global health and food trends with the inclusion of avocados on their menu, as a way of attracting more customers through the door. There is good news for café owners and restaurateurs in that over the next month avocado supply will build with a forecast record crop this season, which will ensure plenty of avocados are available for everyone to enjoy this spring and summer. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado says avocados are trending everywhere and by July there will be plenty available to be included in café and restaurant menus. "Avocados have become a versatile and innovative ingredient on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus worldwide. Diners love to see the healthy avocado being used in different ways and what makes New Zealand avocados even better is that all fresh avocados sold in New Zealand are grown in New Zealand. Avocado sushi, smoothies, avocado fries, hummus, pasta sauce and salad dressings are all trending, while classic combinations such as smashed avocado on toast, with eggs, in salads and sandwiches are reaching new culinary heights. Mikey Newlands, Executive Chef of Bracu Restaurant in Auckland loves using avocado in his dishes.  "As they are super nutritious, using New Zealand avocados in cooking is a great way to add vitamins and minerals to dishes.  Many of my customers say that dishes that utilise avocado are clean, light and easy to eat and something they could eat everyday rather than leaving them feeling heavy or overfed.   Avocados and Mexican food are strongly linked and there has been a visible rise in the popularity of Mexican restaurants in New Zealand including franchises Mad Mex and Mexicali Fresh.  Mad Mex New Zealand Group Managing Director, James Tucker, says that on average they use around a tonne of fresh avocados weekly. "Our amigos love our freshly prepared guacamole that is made from real avocados every single day and proves to be a very popular extra on our menu.   "Avocado makes for a very healthy, nutritious and authentic add-on to any of our menu items. Whether added to burritos, tacos or as a side served with tortilla chips, guacamole is a key component to Mexican cuisine and is served all year round.   New Zealanders are obsessed with this delicious healthy fruit, following a world-wide foodie trend to enjoy avocados at any time of the day or night and international chefs are now going to great lengths to showcase this super fruit on their latest menus, using their expert knife skills to prepare delicate avocado roses and shaved avocado ribbons. These visually-stunning tricks are re-inventing the way diners can eat avocado on toast or enjoy avocado as a salad, sandwich or pizza topping. Die-hard avocado lovers are always looking for inventive new ways to enjoy their favourite fruit, and almost all cuisines can now incorporate avocados into their menus in one form or another. Sweet avocado dishes are also growing in popularity including brownies, cheesecake, ice-cream, chocolate mud cakes and a range of other desserts and baked goods. One of the reasons avocados have become so immensely popular is their amazing health benefits. Diners know that choosing an avocado dish off the menu is a guilt-free way of treating themselves to a delicious meal. Avocados are packed full of healthy monounsaturated fats which are great for cardiovascular health and help keep you fuller for longer. They are also low in sugar and sodium, are a good source of dietary fibre, and contain vital nutrients such as vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C and potassium. Consumer research conducted late last year showed 90,000 more New Zealand households bought avocados last season (2014-15) compared with the year before and avocados produced record-breaking domestic sales of $41 million during the 2015-16 season.  "More people are savouring avocados every season and in our increasingly health-conscious society, that trend is only going to continue. Says Scoular. "We re looking forward to seeing what new avocado-inspired ideas New Zealand s food service industry can serve up this year to wow their customers and take things to another level.

Read More 19 Aug '16 Green carpet rolled out for launch of New Zealand Avocado's biggest season ever Photo

Green carpet rolled out for launch of New Zealand Avocado's biggest season ever

There s only one fruit with enough star power to attract a high profile crowd and shine at its own official season launch party New Zealand s amazing avocado. A "green carpet event was held at Ostro s Screening Room in Auckland on 17 August to celebrate the beginning of the 2016-17 avocado season. Attending guests include New Zealand celebrities, influential social media bloggers, high-profile chefs and New Zealand magazine editors - all of whom are influential New Zealanders who love avocados. Avocados are set to return to our lives in a big way. Avocado trees bear fruit biennially, meaning they can produce a small crop one year which is often followed by a large crop the next. Thankfully this summer is set to deliver a whopping 7.6 million trays nearly double the volume available last year. NZ Avocado Chief Executive, Jen Scoular says this launch celebrated not only the biggest crop they have ever had, but also the fact that they are nearly half way to achieving their sales goal of $280 million by 2023. "Our nation is full of diehard avocado fans, so for many Kiwis 2016 is the year of the New Zealand avocado!  It s also perfect timing for the All Black s test this weekend, as we all know they are big avocado fans and the country can enjoy avocado dips and goodies while supporting our men in black. NZ Avocado hosted the launch party to celebrate the fruit s enormous popularity and showcase its great flavour, versatility and health benefits. Guests were served five different avocado dishes to help whet their appetite and inspire new ideas about how to serve and enjoy this delicious fruit. Popular author and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull spoke at the event about the incredible health benefits avocados have to offer. Avocados can legitimately be called a "superfood . They re full of healthy monounsaturated fats which are great for your heart and cholesterol levels, and help keep your appetite under control. They re also packed with a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, are low in sugar and sodium, and are a good source of dietary fibre. Thanks to a growing body of scientific and nutritional research, avocados have never been more popular. They re now the star attraction on breakfast menus worldwide, and have been called the "Oprah of Instagram thanks to the number of snaps people post of their favourite avocado creations.  "The social media buzz and excitement around avocados returning to our supermarket shelves is unbelievable, so we want to grab this opportunity to showcase and celebrate everything we love about this amazing fruit, says Scoular.

Read More 19 Feb '16 Avocados cholesterol lowering properties Photo

Avocados cholesterol lowering properties

They are a great addition to a salad or smoothie. But for many, the avocado has come to be seen as a guilty pleasure. Though classed as a fruit, it is not typical in the fact that rather than being high in carbohydrate, avocados are high in fat. Fat has long been hailed the dietary enemy number one, but as the tables turn and the scientific spotlight shines more acutely on sugar, so the benefits of the humble avocado are being realised.  A new study has revealed adding the green fruit to your diet can aid weight loss.    Furthermore, the fruit reduces a person s risk of heart disease, according to scientists from the Hass Avocado Board, in California. Emiliano Escobedo, executive director, said: This study supports the body of research showing the many benefits that fresh avocados have to offer when consumed in everyday healthy eating plans. The findings fall in line with recent recommendations from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines stated that making small shifts in food choices can make a difference including shifting from solid fats to oils, such as the oil in fresh avocados. The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, confirmed that swapping solid fats for avocados can significantly change lipid profiles'. Scientists analyzed 10 unique avocado studies with 229 participants. The researchers assessed the impact of avocado on cholesterol levels. They found that consuming one to one-and-a-half avocados per day significantly reduced total cholesterol'. Additionally, it also limited the 'bad' low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides when substituted for sources of fat. Corresponding study author Dr Sachin Shah noted that the results showed that even healthy study subjects showed significant reductions. Dr Nikki Ford, director of nutrition for Hass Avocado Board, said: Fresh avocado, as part of a balanced diet, and as a cholesterol-free substitute for solid fats, can help be part of the solution for maintaining normal cholesterol levels.   Beyond their naturally good fats, avocados are also a delicious way to boost fiber and fruit intakes, both of which are under consumed in American diets. Having high levels of bad cholesterol is known to be a major risk factor for heart disease, according to the study. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one out of every four deaths and it is the number one killer of men and women. Heart disease is also one of the leading causes of disability. The study noted that additional research must be conducted to look at the impact of avocados on major adverse cardiovascular events. Furthermore, the optimal amount of avocado and frequency of use needs further evaluation, the scientists noted. Mr Escobedo said: 'Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, support of weight management and healthy living.'