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SUPPLY DIP

A chickpea shortage means hummus could get a lot more expensive

Alison Griswold
By Alison Griswold

Reporter

Bad news hummus lovers: Prices are going up, at least in the UK.

According to data from industry publication The Grocer, as reported by multiple UK news outlets, the price of a 310-gram tub of hummus in Great Britain has risen to £1.47 ($2.08), up 29% from January 2017.

Tasneem Backhouse, joint managing director for natural foods supplier EHL Ingredients, told The Grocer that rising hummus prices were due to a corresponding jump in chickpea costs.

“Demand is strong from every market and currently there isn’t enough supply to go around,” she said. “This is driven by poor crops in some of the main producing origin nations over the past 12 months.”

One place that isn’t anticipating a shortage: Australia, according to that country’s SBS.com.

“Farmers for most of our commodities produce more than we consume here in Australia,” Brett Hosking of the Victorian Farmers Federation, said in an ABC interview. “We’ve got a big landmass, lots of beautiful farming land and lots of really skilled farmers, but we don’t have as big of a population as a lot of these countries. We’ve got a surplus of chickpeas.”

In 2017, the UK weathered a temporary hummus shortage when international food supplier Bakkavor warned about problems with its manufacturing process. Customers had been complaining that the store-brand hummus they purchased had a strange metallic taste.

Bakkavor produced store-brand hummus for supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Mark & Spencer, and Waitrose, leading them to pull the dip from shelves. Suffice it to say, shoppers weren’t pleased.

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