Quartz reports that a new brand called Tryst Gourmet wants to take advantage of the fact that the term “hummus” isn’t regulated by the FDA. Commercial hummus sales are huge, and Tryst wants in on the action—relying on under-explored legumes like black beans rather than chickpeas.
There’s no question why they want in: global sales of the top 5 hummus brands in the world topped $700 million in 2013.
But bean dips are bean dips; they’re not hummus.
Quartz surveyed 635 Americans about what think qualifies as hummus. At least half of respondents considered dips that contained chickpeas as a necessary hummus ingredient. Compare that to 20% or less of respondents who didn’t feel that hummus needed to include chickpeas.
Regardless of how you feel about global hummus sales leader Sabra’s petition to the FDA establish a “standard of identity” for hummus in the U.S., hummus is a staple food in much of the Middle East.
Look in virtually any Middle Eastern cookbook from any regional culture and you’ll see a variety of recipes that all contain chickpeas as their main ingredient.
There’s a simple reason for that. Chickpeas are part of the definition of the word “hummus.”
Photo: Google Translate
Bean dips have their place, and some are definitely tasty. But calling them hummus is almost as ridiculous as claiming that a nut butter made exclusively with almonds is actually peanut butter.
We say, you do you, tasty bean dip manufacturers of the world. Keep in mind that Quartz just proved that most Americans know their hummus.