Everyone's Talking About the Economics of Avocado Toast

A millionaire scolds millennials, sets off an online brouhaha
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2017 9:03 AM CDT
Everyone's Talking About the Economics of Avocado Toast

Headlines about avocado toast are everywhere, but this time it's more about economics than food trends. It began when an Australian property mogul went on Australia's 60 Minutes and scolded millennials. "When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each," Tim Gurner harrumphed, per CNN Money. Let the reaction begin:

  • The New York Times' DealBook does some fact-checking, and it doesn't come out well for Gurner. Millennials are no more likely to spend on travel and dining than other generations, and it would take a serious amount of avocado toast to put a dent in a down payment these days. Besides, homeownership isn't necessarily a slam-dunk as a wise financial move.
  • Time is out with an avocado toast calculator. You plug in your city, and it crunches data to figure out how many servings of avocado toast (at $8 a pop) you'd have to skip to afford a down payment in your area.

  • The backlash has been furious, and Gurner tells news.com.au that he didn't expect it. He says his "comments were part of a much bigger discussion on how people can get into the market and the necessary planning and policy regulations that I believe are required in order to generate any real change." And he acknowledged that it's "incredibly hard" for people to enter the housing market.
  • Still, casting luxury-ish food items as part of the problem isn't particularly original, writes Maura Judkis at the Washington Post, who notes that Starbucks lattes were the old culprit. The problem is that the economic theory is "garbage," she adds, citing this older takedown of latte economics in Slate.
  • The real reason millennials can't afford homes? Rising house prices and student debt, plus stagnant wages, writes Jessica Roy in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Gurner, who is 35, isn't even the first prominent Australian to make the avocado toast analogy. BuzzFeed took note of this column last year.
  • A millennial responds, via Mashable: "I'd much prefer to eat avocado on toast while sharing an apartment with 10 mates, if having money and five houses turns me into a smarmy rich dude that lectures my own generation on how to be a smarmy rich dude. Cough, Gurner, cough."
  • Whether or not Gurner is right, one thing seems like a safe bet: The price of avocados is probably going nowhere but up, thanks to demand in China, reports the Independent.
And whatever you do, beware "avocado hands." (More avocado stories.)

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