As the popularity of hummus sores in the US, Strauss Group Ltd. unit Sabra Dipping Company, which makes the chick pea paste in the US, has opened an R&D facility in Chesterfield County, Virginia, and is also expanding its adjacent hummus production facility - the world's largest. Sabra is owned equally with PepsiCo.
Sabra broke ground on the next phase of its manufacturing facility, an $86 million investment to meet the continued increasing demands for hummus. The company expects the addition of capacity will create an estimated 140 jobs over the next few years. Sabra currently holds 60% of the refrigerated flavored dips category in the US.
The new R&D facility will further research capabilities and improve Sabra’s products in all aspects of food manufacturing and distribution, from agriculture, nutrition and food science to engineering, packaging and product delivery. It will support both Sabra and Obela, the joint venture between PepsiCo and Strauss Group for marketing hummus in Mexico and Australia.
Meanwhile, the "Wall Street Journal" reports that Strauss is looking to persuade tobacco farmers in Virginia to grow the chick peas from which hummus is made, to reduce dependency on farmers in the Pacific Northwest.
Sabra chief technology officer Tulin Tuzel told the "Wall Street Journal", "We need to establish the supply chain to meet our growing demand. We want to reduce the risk of bad weather or concentration in one region. If possible, we also want to expand the growing seasons."
"Wall Street Journal" reported that Sabra's hummus sales rose 18% in 2012 to $315 million.