In October 2016, a renowned Australian demographer and columnist unknowingly cracked open a big, juicy can of worms on the international stage. Bernard Salt wrote in his weekly column in The Australian newspaper that ‘the evils of hipster cafes’ were a key factor holding back young Aussies from owning their first home. Salt wrote ‘I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbed feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop…’. It seemed, from Bernard’s perspective at least, that perhaps salt wasn’t always the best compliment to avo on toast.
A few months later, successful property developer Tim Gurner added some pepper to Salt’s views during his interview on primetime Australian current affairs show 60 Minutes, advising viewers ‘…when I was buying my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 bucks and ….coffees at $4 each’.
Not surprisingly, the concept of smashed avocado being the inhibitor to home ownership made international headlines, triggering polarising opinion pieces from journalists and economists alike across the world’s most prominent media outlets, including:
- New York Times, Fact-Checking a Mogul’s Claims About Avocado Toast, Millennials and Home Buying
- Washington Post, Don’t mess with millennials’ avocado toast: The Internet fires back at a millionaire
- Buzzfeed, People Are Mad At This Piece About Smashed Avocado Toast And Housing
- Time, Millionaire to Millennials: Stop Buying Avocado Toast If You Want to Buy a Home
- BBC, How row over mashed avocado toast is dividing Australian generations
- UK’s Evening Standard, Stop buying smashed avocado if you want to afford a house, millionaire property mogul Tim Gurner tells millennials
Is one humble serving of smashed avo on toast really a barrier to home ownership?
Maybe. Or maybe not. If the world’s economists can’t even agree, then who really knows?
That’s why I came up with the concept of the Smashed Avo Project. I figured that I could prove what the leading economists cannot, by taking a more practical approach to valuing a plate of smashed avo.
The way Smashed Avo Project works is pretty simple:
- It starts with a freshly made dish of smashed avocado, served on locally-sourced bread with suitable garnishings
- The dish is advertised it in the ‘swaps/trades’ section of my local classifieds
- When an offer takes my fancy, I will trade the smashed avo for that item
- I’ll then list the new item in the ‘swaps/trades’ section of my local classifieds, and rinse and repeat the process many times over (much like the real estate game, there’ll be no time limit allocated to each trade – a deal will be struck whenever it feels right)
- Whenever it feels right to stop trading, then that’s exactly what I’ll do
At this point (hopefully prior to 2021, as this domain will probably be expired by then) we’ll have a proven hypothesis as to what we are really sacrificing in the long-term to support our smashed avo habits!
And of course, for your viewing pleasure, every trade will be reported here along the way (as well as any quirky offers that made me grin).