Sabra Dipping Company, a joint venture between PepsiCo and Strauss Group, one of Israel’s largest food production manufacturers, announced plans to grow a non-GMO, first-of-its-kind sesame seed varietal in the US. The seeds were developed by Sabra and will produce tahini, a key ingredient in the company’s vegan hummus.
“The current global crisis has accelerated many pre-existing trends, one of which is the strategic importance of our complex food supply chain,” said Tomer Harpaz, Sabra CEO. “We believe food companies must play a critical role investing in the sustainability of our food supply and in processing technologies, constantly adding value from the farm to the consumer table. Food companies have a responsibility to make technology investments in their core and sesame has always been core for Sabra.”
Sabra’s hummus line is made with a blend of chickpeas, tahini (ground sesame seeds), oil, and garlic. While Sabra sources chickpeas from family-owned farms in the Pacific Northwest, the vast majority of sesame seeds grown in the US have not met Sabra’s ‘gold standard’ until now.
“Sabra works with US farmers to grow chickpeas for our hummus and we are thrilled that in the near future, we will be sourcing the majority of sesame for tahini from US growers as well,” said Susan Hickey, senior director, procurement and sustainability for Sabra.
Both chickpea and sesame crops boast wholesome nutritional profiles, environmental benefits, and high-yields making these crops attractive to growers. Legumes are known for nitrogen fixating capabilities and sesame thrives in arid areas, enabling a reduced environmental footprint and low water usage demands. Sabra is currently seeding in Oklahoma and Texas for the 2020 harvest and expects to yield sufficient supply to produce a portion of tahini this year.
“The proprietary seeds we developed will not only deliver the flavor and texture we require, but this agricultural innovation will be a long-term differentiator, enabling us to consistently produce an unparalleled superior crop and improve traceability and sustainability across the supply chain as more consumers bring hummus home.”