Ex Mondelēz marketer joins Sabra as CMO: ‘Hummus is more than a dip…’

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Jason Levine: 'There is so much opportunity because hummus is such a tremendously versatile plant-based food...'
Jason Levine: 'There is so much opportunity because hummus is such a tremendously versatile plant-based food...'

Related tags: Sabra, Hummus

While US household penetration of hummus has soared over the past decade, there is still a significant opportunity to increase consumption through new usage occasions, says Jason Levine, who has joined the nation’s leading hummus brand Sabra as chief marketing officer (CMO).

Levine, who was formerly North America CMO at Mondelēz International, working on brands from Oreo to belVita, told FoodNavigator-USA: “2018 was one of the strongest growth years for the hummus category, and we’re seeing the clear signs of the hummus category being at the center of the plant-based foods movement.

“There is so much opportunity because hummus is such a tremendously versatile plant-based food, and that’s going to be the important thing, to think about it as being more than just a dip, which was the primary usage occasion established early on in the category.

“It can also be both a snack and a meal and can continue to be a great dip but also used on toast and in wraps and in bowls. It’s easy and delicious, so that will be a big part of how we continue to build the Sabra brand and the category."

He added: "You can see it going to different dayparts, so not just a snack between meals, but for breakfast on toast with eggs and avocado, or center plate for dinner." 

The clear market leader

The Sabra brand, meanwhile, which has a 60% share of the US hummus category and is based in New York but manufactured in Virginia, "continues to grow the category and has a tremendously loyal fan base,"​ he claimed. 

A 50:50 joint venture between PepsiCo and Israeli food manufacturer Strauss Group, Sabra went through a challenging period in late 2016 following a voluntary recall​ driven by concerns over listeria. However, the speed with which it recovered was a testament to the brand’s resilience, Seth Kaufman, head of PepsiCo's North American Nutrition business told FoodNavigator-USA last year.

While Sabra has dipped its toes into the bean dip category with the launch of dips made from white, red, and black beans, these have been withdrawn from the market so the company can focus all of its attention on hummus, said a spokeswoman.

sabra
Hummus is traditionally made from chickpeas, tahini (sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic (Sabra uses Non-GMO soybean oil instead of olive oil).