Last Sunday, the Hummus Was has finally began. Unlike other wars, this one is going to be fairly harmless, because the fighting will be done by means of marketing, advertising, giveaways and special prices.
Calcalist is the #3 business publication in Israel, a relatively new and small newspaper. It’s a very mainstream, nevertheless, so it usually deals with mainstream business news – nothing like that main headline on August 3rd. The headline said: The Hummus War.
It’s seems like a very common news item: two major local companies fighting over a market. The point is that these two companies, Osem and Strauss, are fighting over the American hummus market.
Strauss owns Sabra, an American manufacturer founded by former Israelis. Earlier this year Pepsico also bought a piece of the company, and the two are working together to market hummus to every American household. In Israel, Strauss is the #1 manufacturer of store bought hummus under the brand of Hummus Achla.
Envious of it’s success, Osem – who owns Hummus Tzabar, is Strauss’s main competitor in Israel – is about to buy Tribe, the #2 hummus manufacturer in the states. Ironically, “Tzabar” means “Sabra” in Hebrew, by the way.
Currently, the American hummus market estimated value is around 250 million dollars, and growing. That’s after a 78 percent growth in the past year.
Now, it’s true that store bought hummus is a very poor substitute for the real thing, but for many in the middle-eastern diaspora it’s the closest thing they can put hands on. Besides, when there’s demmand for hummus, new hummus places are established. So corporate money going into hummus marketing is bound to make room for real hummus too.