Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Hummus is finally becoming mainstream and getting a lot of space in the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
In some states - farmers are starting to plant chickpeas instead of tobacco.

Here's the story. Quite impressive. 

Hummus Is Conquering America

Tobacco Farmers Open Fields to Chickpeas; A Bumper Crop

[image]Bloomberg News
Sabra sales were estimated to reach $315 million last year.
CLOVER, Va.—Prodded by the largest U.S. hummus maker, farmers in the heart of tobacco country are trying to grow chickpeas, an improbable move that reflects booming demand for hummus.
The humble chickpea is having a heyday. But while demand for chickpeas and hummus is high, farmers are preparing themselves for a potential shortage. David Kesmodel has details. Photo: AP.
Sabra Dipping Co., a joint venture ofPepsiCo Inc. PEP -0.22% and Israel's Strauss Group Ltd., wants to cultivate a commercial crop in Virginia to reduce its dependence on the legume's main U.S. growing region—the Pacific Northwest—and to identify new chickpea varieties for its dips and spreads.
For Sabra, which makes hummus at a plant near Richmond, Va., a secondary source of supplies could help protect the company if a chickpea shortage occurred because of crop failures in Washington or Idaho. Sourcing chickpeas locally also would lower its shipping costs. But the Virginia effort carries risk, because experts say the state's high summer humidity could prove a significant obstacle to its viability.
"We need to establish the supply chain to meet our growing demand," says Sabra's chief technology officer, Tulin Tuzel. "We want to reduce the risk of bad weather or concentration in one region. If possible, we also want to expand the growing seasons."
Long a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, hummus is earning a growing following among Americans seeking more-healthful snacks. The chickpea dip is low in fat and high in protein. Sales of "refrigerated flavored spreads"—a segment dominated by hummus—totaled $530 million at U.S. food retailers last year, up 11% from a year earlier and a 25% jump over 2010, according to market-research firm Information Resources Inc.

Related Video: Hummus Recipe

Watch Denize Hazime of the popular online series "Dede's Mediterranean Kitchen" share her recipe for hummus.
The growth has caught the attention of big food companies like PepsiCo, which bought a 50% stake in Sabra in 2008, and Kraft Foods Group Inc.,KRFT -0.16% which owns Athenos, another big hummus brand. Sabra on Tuesday is expected to announce an $86 million expansion of its hummus plant near Richmond to help meet demand. It expects to add 140 jobs to the facility, which currently employs about 360, over the next few years.
Sabra doesn't disclose financial data, but IRI data show its hummus sales were about $315 million last year, up about 18%. And because some retailers, including Costco Wholesale Corp., COST -0.18% don't provide information to IRI, the figures understate Sabra's retail sales.
Sabra, based in White Plains, N.Y., has helped introduce more Americans to hummus through huge sampling events in major cities in which it has handed out 10,000 2-ounce packages a day. Sabra began its first national television advertising campaign earlier this year.
"Most of the consumers out there still don't know what hummus is," said Adam Carr, chief executive of Tribe Mediterranean Foods Inc., a Sabra rival. "We think that there are going to be lots of new users coming to the category."
Growing demand for hummus has pushed up prices for chickpeas, spurring farmers to increase production. The average price that farmers received for chickpeas was 35 cents a pound last year, a 10-cent increase over the mid-2000s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Though chickpeas are a tiny crop compared with corn or wheat, last year's U.S. harvest totaled a record 332 million pounds, up 51% from the previous year, according to the USDA. The value of the U.S. chickpea crop hit a record $115.5 million last year, USDA data show.
David Kesmodel/The Wall Street Journal
Last year's U.S. chickpea harvest jumped 51% from the previous year. Above, Virginia farmer James Brown is testing the legume.
U.S. farmers are expected to plant a record 214,300 acres of chickpeas this year, up 3% from last year and a fivefold increase over a decade ago, the USDA said. Demand for the U.S. crop from Spain, Turkey and Pakistan also has led farmers to plant more.
In Walla Walla, Wash., farmer Pat McConnell, 51, said he intends this spring to plant about 950 acres with chickpeas, more than double his crop last year. "They've become a pretty lucrative option," he said. "I really think chickpeas are going to continue to grow in popularity."
Virginia officials are eager to develop new crops in a state where tobacco farming has shrunk dramatically since the 1990s because of declining cigarette sales.
Sabra has provided financial support for chickpea research at Virginia State University, and this spring, Virginia State recruited farmers to plant chickpeas in on-farm trials.
But Virginia's summer humidity and heat could make chickpeas more susceptible to a fungus known as Ascochyta blight that long has threatened chickpea crops in the U.S.
Virginia State University agronomist Harbans Bhardwaj is working on identifying a variety more suited to the climate, that could potentially be planted months earlier than most chickpeas. Mr. Bhardwaj thinks Virginia farmers may be able to grow the crop on a commercial scale within three years.
James Brown, a 72-year-old tobacco, corn and soybean farmer in Clover, Va., said he knew nothing about chickpeas when an extension agent from Virginia State called him several months ago and asked if he would plant the legume.
He said he jumped at the opportunity because he is looking for ways to make his roughly 300-acre farm more profitable.
Mr. Brown planted four acres with chickpeas in mid-April. That week, his wife served him the first chickpeas he'd ever eaten. "They tasted pretty good," the farmer said.
Write to David Kesmodel at and Owen Fletcher
Corrections & Amplifications
Sabra co-owner Strauss discloses some of Sabra's financial results in Strauss's securities filings. An earlier version of this article failed to note the parent company's disclosure.
A version of this article appeared April 30, 2013, on page B1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Hummus Conquers America.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Even thought Egypt is going through a political roller coaster - more people are travelling to it than ever.   Perhaps it's cause Egypt is getting a lot of daily exposure in the mainstream media and perhaps it's cause for many in the Western world there is something extremely romantic in travelling to a nation who's people decided to take their future into their own hands and through a peaceful revolution changed their own government .

A few asked me about Hummus in Egypt and I didn't know what to answer. I love Egypt and the Egyptian people. It's a magical country that has so much history and ancient architecture that is a  monument to the beginning of modern civilization.

Since Google is tied so heavily to the Egyptian revolution - I figured it'll also be OK if I google to find out what the pro's think about Hummus there and if anything changed after the revolution also in terms of the standing of the top Hummus restaurants there.

But sadly when I googled the words : BEST HUMMUS EGYPT - there were no links to actual restaurants for 2 whole Google pages. Dozens of links - and none to actual dining places in Egypt.

I decided to change my search words and typed HUMMUS and EGYPT...
I thought maybe if I'll make it a broader search I will get a list of hundreds of Hummus restaurants in Egypt.
After all, when one types just the word HUMMUS and reads about it in Wikipedia - one of the first thing Wikipedia does mention for all Hummus history seekers is that:

"The earliest known recipes for a dish similar to hummus bi tahini are recorded in cookbooks published in Cairo in the 13th century"

So how could the nation that had the first recorded Hummus recipe published - not have any thing in GOOGLE?

But I was not willing to give up yet - so I Googled the words:  BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT EGYPT - and sadly, all that popped up were links to middle eastern restaurants in the US.

I was shocked that I couldn't find any Egyptian Hummus restaurants in Egypt.

Hopefully now that Egyptian are standing up and taking destiny into their own hands - they will also help remind the world - they are also the leaders with Hummus and in the future when people around the world Google Hummus and Egypt  - they will not just get the best Egyptian restaurants in the US.

I would love to hear thoughts from those who have been in Egypt recent.

One of the amazing things is that TRIP ADVISOR has a list of the top 10 restaurants in Cairo.
Their number 1 restaurant isn't a local cuisine but rather a Japanese restaurant.

#2 is a Lebanese restaurant.
Their info:

Fayruz Lebanese Restaurant  

InterContinental Cairo Citystars | Omar Ibn El Khattab St., HeliopolisCairo 11737Egypt

While I've never been to that restaurant my initial thought is that since it's in the InterContinental - it probably won't be as cheap as other less fancy places. 
But from the pictures it looks clean and indeed fancy for the middle eastern restaurant.
Trip Advisor gives #3, #4, #5 best restaurants in Cairo to an Italian, Indian and Four Seasons restaurants.
#6 is finally an Egyptian restaurant. Here's the info:
Kebabgy - 3 El Thawra Council Street | P.O. Box 732, El Orman - GizaCairoEgypt

Then #7,#8,#9 are again not local cuisines and finally at #10 are again Egyptian: 
Koshari al-Tahrir - Sharia Abd el-Khalik SarwatCairoEgypt
Only in #11 is there a recommendation for a cheap Egyptian restaurant:
Koshary Abou Tarek -16 Maarouf St. | ChampollionCairoEgypt

Looking at the reviews on Trip Advisor it's sad that traditional Egyptian Restaurants are at the bottom of the top 10 restaurants in Cairo. 

Many believe that a pride of a country rests on it's traditional cuisine - so Egyptians must find a way to help their local eateries improve their local cuisines and not just serve high end international cuisines.  

For other cities - here's links to the thoughts of the big guns of travel and what they recommend:

Lonely Planet publications a very respectable international tour  company and  they do have some recommendations about Egyptian restaurants. While I highly trust Lonely Planet about travel - their food recommendations can be a hit or miss, and the restaurants they currently recommend mostly have less than 10 likes each - so it's hard to know if others agree or not with Lonely planet's taste buds:

Except for it's top 10 list - TRIP ADVISOR also has a list of many restaurants that travellers have attended and liked - but while I love Trip Advisor's recommendations about hotels - with Food it gets more tricky as many times the highest rated restaurants are mediocre places as it's about the average rating of millions of travellers and in that kind of scenario - not always the greatest places shine.

They have a lot of restaurants but also many aren't neccasserily Local Egyptian. Here's one of the ones that is recommended but from their description doesn't seem cheap or fast and reservation is required so it's not for those just wanted to come on a whim and eat some Hummus.

"Abu Sid (Off 26th of July St., Zamalek, Cairo; tel. 02/27359640): Reservations are required at this upscale eatery, and when you get to the table, traditional Egyptian cuisine never tasted so good. "


Searching for Hummus on facebook brought up one restaurant in Egypt:

Abu Hummus, Al Buhayrah, Egypt 

There's not a lot of information on this place. The page is very limited and has only about 250 LIKES  but still more than any other place.

That's it Hummus Lovers. 
Enjoy Egypt.
Enjoy the revolution.
And keep us updated on your new findings.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hummus on Google

One of the interesting things is to see the popularity of different Hummus combinations on Google.
Well, based on a quick research as of September 2009 here are the numbers: ( Thanks to Google Keyword search)

hummus recipe 90,500

hummus recipes 33,100

hummus dip 4,400

hummus 368,000

It's a pretty impressive number until you check on words like Pizza and Hamburger and are humbled.

Seems like Hummus still has a long way to go before it becomes a little more popular in the ultimate virtual world of Google.

The world never sleeps.