Britain faces hummus crisis amid global chickpea shortage

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The price of supermarket hummus has leapt by 29 per cent since January 2017 due to a global chickpea shortage. A 310g pot of hummus costs £1.47 on average now, a year-on-year increase of 33 pence, according to analysis by the trade magazine The Grocer.

High demand

Chickpeas are in high demand but poor crop yields in some areas over the past year have driven down supply, one supplier explained.

“Chickpea prices have increased during 2017 and remain high,” Tasneem Backhouse, managing director of chickpea supplier EHL Ingredients, told The Grocer.

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

Scarcity of lettuce

Britain is also facing a salad shortage after a cold snap in parts of southern Spain caused iceberg lettuce crops to fail. Some 1,000 hectares of land was lost with yields of iceberg lettuce, broccoli and artichokes down 25 per cent on 2016, according to The Grocer. Supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer briefly removed pots of hummus from their shelves last spring due to “taste issues”. After some customers complained of an unpleasant “metallic” tang, the supermarkets’ supplier, Bakkavor, confirmed it notified the retailers it did business with to warn of a problem with its manufacturing process. Bakkavor refused to say what had caused the strange taste but stressed that there was no food safety issue. In 2017 consumers in the UK spent £181.7m on chilled dips, up from £143.8m in 2007, according to the consumer insight firm Kantar Worldpanel.