September 7, 2010

Hummus War Heats Up as Tribe Launches Jewish Media Blitz

New York…The story of a pending PepsiCo – Osem Hummus war first broke in Kosher Today last June but the first shot was fired last week by Tribe with an ad in Jewish weeklies “Not all Hummus is all Natural.” Tribe was apparently challenging the highly successful Sabra brand by taking on the salad giant with the natural claim. A Brooklyn gourmet supermarket has also been highly successful in promoting its own brand of “natural” hummus as opposed to the Sabra brand which includes preservatives and enjoys a much longer shelf life. Sabra USA is owned by PepsiCo. Osem, 54% of which is owned by Nestle, acquired Tribe in 2008, which is now Osem’s brand of salads in the US. Although it acquired the Sabra brand in Israel, it does not own the US brand and apparently cannot use the name Sabra. The US Sabra is credited with expanding hummus to mainstream consumers with a marketing campaign that includes the use of television. A spokesman for a major supermarket chain told Kosher Today that “hummus is hot and for the moment Sabra owns the category.” Tribe is obviously hoping that by playing the natural card, they will be able to cut into Sabra’s steadily growing dominance in the national hummus market. While Sabra seems to be devoting most of its attention outside of the kosher market, Tribe seems anxious to first carve out a strong niche in the kosher market.