Our love affair with guacamole and avocado toast has been going on so long by now that you’d think someone would have looked at all the avocado pits piling up and think, “Huh, I wonder if there’s a delicious use for that and if I can make money off of it?” And maybe someone did, but it’s only now that someone has actually done something.
That would be Sheetal Bahirat, a food waste researcher at Drexel University in Philadelphia, who was appalled by the amount of skin and seeds she left behind after she turned a case of avocados into guacamole. “I thought, ‘If I throw this away, I’m the biggest hypocrite,’” she told Philadelphia magazine. (Her masters thesis was, in fact, on the avocado seed.) So she began doing her job and, in the course of her research, she learned that more than half of the antioxidants in avocados are in the pit. If only there was a way to extract them...
Bahirat hit on the idea of brewing the avocado seeds into a drink. She teamed up with Zuri Masud, a culinary scientist at Drexel, and together they set up a beverage company called Hidden Gems that would be dedicated to fighting food waste. Their first project would be the avocado seed drink, which they decided to call Reveal.
Restaurants in Philadelphia and New York donated avocado pits to the cause. Bahirat and Masud spent several months testing their brew before they came up with the final formula. Reports Philadelphia: “The brewed avocado seed beverage boasts three times as many antioxidants as kombucha and green tea. It’s sugar-free and contains 15 calories. It comes in light, summery flavors like rose and mint, mango and ginger, and grapefruit and lavender. Each bottle includes two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.” (The magazine didn’t report, though, how it actually tastes.)
Now the two entrepreneurs are starting to market their product. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into their plans, which had originally involved focusing on retail and drumming up interest at yoga studios and fitness centers. Instead they pivoted to online delivery via GoPuff. But they’re excited to start experimenting with other forms of food waste and maybe inspiring others to think of new uses for food waste.
“There is such potential for this to be replicated across the industry, and for people in their homes to take more notice of their own food waste. We’re essentially creating a supply chain for something that didn’t exist before. It will be a big deal,” Masud told Philly. “Hopefully.”