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While sifting through the pyramid of familiar nubby-skinned avocados at the store, you may have noticed them stacked nearby. Large, bright green and smooth-skinned, they resemble the avocados you know and love, but they’re different. Take a closer look, and you may spot a branded sticker on them saying “SlimCado,” prompting you to wonder whether this is a less-fattening avocado or some kind of new Franken-fruit (yes, an avocado is a fruit).
It’s neither. Although this variety is indeed lower in fat and calories, it is not necessarily healthier or more slimming than a “regular” avocado. And it’s far from new; the variety has been cultivated for centuries.
Ninety-five percent of the avocados we buy are Hass avocados from California and Mexico, which in the U.S. Agriculture Department’s National Nutrient Database are called “California” avocados. SlimCado is a brand name for the other variety in the database, “Florida” avocados. You can think of California and Florida avocados the same way you would red and green apples. They are different varieties of the same fruit, with different flavors, textures and culinary applications. They are two broad categories that cover a much more diverse group than meets the eye; there are actually more than 1,000 varieties of avocado.
Avocado mania is going strong: Sales of the fruit increased nearly sevenfold between 1989 and 2014, and they continue to grow exponentially. A search of #avocado yields more than 7 million posts on Instagram, and avocado toast has become a staple food seemingly overnight. You can buy avocado yogurt, avocado ice cream, and avocado salad dressing and baby food.