Hummus has a branding problem. For too long, it’s been associated with Park Slope Food Coop infighting and hippie-type health foods like carrots. But Sabra CEO Ronen Zohar wants to change all that, and he’s taking hummus to the bros by going straight to the mothership: the NFL.
Early in a comprehensive profile of Sabra’s efforts to corner the American “flavored spreads” market (appetizing!), Bloomberg drops the news that the PepsiCo-owned hummus manufacturer will soon become the NFL’s “official dips sponsor,” a title that sounds like it should rightfully go to ranch dressing. A new ad campaign will also encourage hummus-eaters to “dip life to the fullest” with a commercial that portrays carrots alongside a more NFL-appropriate dip material: chicken wings. If you say so, Sabra.
Zohar explains that even though Sabra’s got a hefty market share already, “most of the people in the US never tasted hummus,” a fact underscored by Bloomberg’s need to explain exactly what the dip/spread/condiment is. But don’t worry, Sabra’s got an only mildly creepy-sounding plan for world domination:
The way Zohar figures it, the path to expanding the hummus category, which he estimates at $700 million to $800 million, will come in three stages. First, get people to dip it. Next, get them to spread it, like on toast. The most recent TV commercials show it being spread like mayo on a cold-cut sandwich. The final step: hummus as a side dish, the way it’s eaten in the Middle East.
“We are only now at the first stage,” Zohar said. “It’s only an issue of time.”
“Soon,” the hummus tycoon said, stroking his cat while swiveling around in an office chair. “Soon.”