​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Hummus - the healthy fast food that’s growing fast

Hummus is changing from a traditional food to a trendy snack in today’s fast-paced world. ​​

Women at hummus bar

In the Middle East, there are cafés called hummusia where hummus is served. Now these cafés are popping up around the world like this one just opened in Malmö in Sweden.

​​The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus are recorded in cookbooks written in Cairo in the 13th century. Today, the popularity of hummus is spreading far and wide. For example, Sweden’s first ever hummus bar opened in Lund in 2014 selling a range of hummus dishes for eating in or takeaway. In recent years, hummus bars like this have been springing up in parts of Europe and North America where local artisans make their own fresh hummus for sale in a variety of flavours. The concept comes from the Middle East where hummus is a traditional food in the diet. In the West, hummus is becoming a trendy fast food for people who want a healthy snack on the move. It has also been reinvented as an appetizer, a sandwich spread and a dip.

“Hectic lifestyles are impacting how, what and how often we consume. The need for snack format solution is not fading away. Healthy content in bite-size formats puts a pressure on what’s inside to be filling, functional, tasty and protein-rich,” states our annual Trendipedia market research survey from 2019.

Hummus is ideal to meet this need because it is a convenient and nutritious food that can be eaten as a meal in itself or in between meals as a snack. Hummus made from chickpeas is high in protein, iron, dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, it ticks the box as a plant-based food for the increasing number of vegetarians and vegans (there are an estimated 500 million vegans, for example). That’s not to mention all the people who are eating more plant-based food because it is better for the planet.

Hummus has a strong heritage in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern markets prefer hummus to be smooth and creamy but in other parts of the world, there are no such traditions and hummus comes in a variety of textures from creamy to coarse. Apart from traditional hummus made from chickpeas, hummus can also be made from lentils or beans.

Growing by 13% a year

The box gives some figures for the world hummus market compiled by Market Research Future in 2018. According to their research, sales of hummus are forecast to grow at a rate of nearly 13% per year until 2027. As a result, global sales in 2027 are expected to be three times the level in 2018 for all categories of hummus, not just those made from chickpeas.​

  • Global market, 2018: USD 2,253 million (Classic hummus: USD 963 million)
  • Forecast 2027: USD 6,700 million
  • CAGR forecast (2018-2027): 12.84%

Source: Market Research Future​

Application knowhow​

This growth potential has not escaped our attention. We are planning to partner with food producers who wish to enter the hummus market for the first time or expand an existing line.

“We have now done extensive research and established the necessary knowhow about hummus applications, making us a go-to partner for hummus,” says Dan Björklund, Manager Centre of Expertise Prepared Food at Tetra Pak. “Based on our findings, we have identified important properties which have an impact on the choice of processing equipment and process parameters.”

These properties include texture expressed by two quantifiable measures: smoothness and hardness. We also take into account the intended storage conditions, whether chilled or ambient, and whether the hummus is made with or without the addition of pieces like olives.

Our team has developed the expertise to design processing lines for producing hummus of the right quality, whether in a batch or continuous process.

In addition, we have a specially designed mixer option in our Tetra Pak® High Shear Mixer range. It is designed to handle chickpeas, beans and other vegetables efficiently and easily. One of the features is direct steam injection, for fast but also very efficient heating that decreases the process time immensely. Another feature is the special bin lifter for adding the chickpeas or other ingredients into the mixing tank ergonomically and hygienically. This new mixer forms the heart of a processing line for making hummus and can perform the cooking, grinding, mixing and cooling all in one vessel.

Artisans make hummus in a small batch but it takes processing expertise to make commercial hummus of the right quality on an industrial scale. That expertise is now available from us. ​​​​​