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Revealed: Sydney’s smashed avocado index

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Sydney’s eastern suburbs hold a unique place in the city’s smashed avocado economy.

In the upmarket inner-east neighbourhood of Edgecliff 100 per cent of cafes have avocado toast on the menu. That suburb also has the city’s highest average price for the hipster favourite at $18 a pop, new research has found. Bondi Junction isn’t far behind – 80 per cent of cafe menus there feature smashed avocado at an average price of $16 (equal second highest in the city).

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A paper exploring Sydney’s “avo-economics” by Sydney University geography students, Jesse Dolan and Chris Ducklin, points to a class dimension in the city’s smashed avocado market.

Their data suggests the price and availability of avocado meals peaks where house prices and incomes are high compared to most parts of the city.

By far the most affordable avocado toast can be found in the far west of Sydney. The lowest average price was $9 at Werrington near Penrith (although only one local café offered it) followed by Granville with an average of $10.42 (offered in two cafes).

While aspiring home buyers have been blamed for squandering their deposits buying smashed avocado at trendy cafes, the study revealed it is impossible for members of the Millennial generation to waste their savings at many Sydney shopping strips because local eateries don’t even have it on the menu.

A quarter of the locations examined had no smashed avo meals on café menus, all of them west of Auburn. Harris Park, for instance, had 15 cafes but not one offered smashed avocado.

The researchers used Google maps, online menus and phone calls to work out how many cafes sold smashed avocado within 750 metres of 47 Sydney train stations stretching from Bondi Junction in the east along the city’s western railway line to Emu Plains and Richmond. They also “did a bit of sampling” at several cafes while they “discussed the paper”, said researcher Chris Ducklin.

Smashed avocado has become a recurring theme in the debate about housing affordability since last October when demographer Bernard Salt wrote in a wry newspaper column that he had seen “young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more”.

He pointed out that $22 several times a week “could go towards a deposit on a house”.

Salt’s comments triggered blaze of controversy on social media and has come to symbolise generational conflict over property ownership.

“After all the debate about smashed avocado and house prices we thought we’d see if there is a relationship between the price of smashed avocado, its appearance on menus and house prices in Sydney suburbs,” said Mr Doolan.

The researchers concluded the price and availability of smashed avocado seems to correlate much more with areas of high income and high house prices than the behaviour of any age group, including young would-be home buyers.

The research suggests the inner-west neighbourhood of Summer Hill is something of a smashed avocado dividing line for Sydney.

More than two thirds of cafes identified near railway stations east of Summer Hill had smashed avocado on the menu. West of Summer Hill the share was less than 20 per cent.

However, the survey revealed a noticeable spike in the prices and availability of smashed avocado in cafes near Parramatta, the city’s second CBD.

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