Hummus consumption is booming in the United States.
Long a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, hummus is earning a growing following among Americans seeking more-healthful snacks. The chickpea dip is low in fat and high in protein. Sales of "refrigerated flavored spreads"—a segment dominated by hummus—totaled $530 million at U.S. food retailers last year, up 11% from a year earlier and a 25% jump over 2010, according to market-research firm Information Resources Inc.
And major companies like PepsiCo. and Kraft are taking notice. PepsiCo bought a 50 percent share in Sabra in 2008 and Kraft owns Athenos, both major hummus-producing brands in the U.S.
For farmers in Virginia, where Sabra is pushing for more chickpea production, chickpeas -- the main ingredient in hummus -- are more of a winning bet than tobacco, which has seen production fall as cigarette sales have decreased. According to WSJ, last year was a record year for chickpea farmers whose 332 million pound crop (a 51 percent increase from 2011) was valued at $115.5 million. That's nowhere near the $63.9 billion brought in from corn. Still, chickpeas are on the rise, bringing in 10 cents more per pound compared with the mid-2000s -- the average price last year was 35 cents per pound.
And if farmers are any indication, the hummus obsession isn't going to let up anytime soon. A record 213,300 acres of chickpeas will be planted this year.
Hummus Is Conquering America [Wall Street Journal]
Photo: Flickr/Eat It Detroit