Avocado consumption and trade are increasing worldwide, with North America and Europe being the main importing regions. Spain is the major European avocado producer (90% of the production), yet it only supplies 10% of the market. Consequently, more than 90% of the avocados consumed in Europe are imported from overseas, mainly from Chile and Peru. In this work, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) impact associated with the transport of two avocado supply chains (short (Spanish) and long (Chilean)) and the effect of the fruit origin and distance of both chains on primary and secondary metabolites from harvest to edible ripeness were evaluated using a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography coupled to diode array detection (LC-DAD) based metabolite analysis. The LCA transport impact of the fresh supply chain from production centers in Chile (Quillota) and Spain (Malaga), and then the distribution to several cities in Europe, suggested road export from Spain to European capitals to have the lowest impact (0.14 to 0.22 kg CO2 eq/kg of avocado). When export from Chile was considered, the option of oceanic freight to European ports closer to final destinations was clearly a better option (0.21 to 0.26 kg CO2 eq/kg) than via the Algeciras port in Spain followed by road transport to final destinations in European capitals (0.34 to 0.43 kg CO2 eq/kg), although the situation could be somewhat different if the avocados are transported from the destination ports in northern Europe to long-distance capitals in other European countries. Fruit origin had a significant impact on avocado primary and secondary metabolites. The conditions of the supply chain itself (10 d in cold storage in regular conditions vs. 30 d cold storage + controlled atmosphere conditions) largely influence the fate of some metabolites that certainly affect the pool of metabolites at edible ripeness. The long-assumed hypothesis that the longer the supply chain the more negative impact on nutritional and functional compounds might not hold in this case, as long as transport conditions are adequate in terms of temperature, atmosphere conditions, and time considering distance from origin to destination.
- fatty acid profile
- life cycle analysis