In Depth

'Hummus crisis': Why are supermarkets removing the dip?

Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Tesco leave shoppers bereft after clearing their shelves of the chickpea hit

Customers of Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Tesco are facing a "hummus crisis" after the supermarket shelves were "stripped" of the Mediterranean dip, says the Daily Telegraph

What's going on?

In the past couple of days, stock of some lines of hummus has been pulled from stores around the country, prompting a satirical outcry from customers on social media.

Don't you mean 'houmous'?

Well, yes, let's deal with confusion first. "Wikipedia lists five spellings - hummus, houmous, humus, hommus and hommos", says the BBC

However, adds the broadcaster, the Oxford English Dictionary only lists "hummus" as the correct spelling - "so let's stick with that".

And what is 'hummus'?

"Hummus is an ancient peasant dish - usually of cooked and mashed chick pea, tahini (sesame paste), lemon and garlic - which hails from the countries of the Middle East, where unleavened bread is used for dipping," says the BBC.

Right. So why the shortage?

It's more accurately a "chickpea crisis", says the Telegraph.

Customers complained dips bought in some supermarkets had a strange "metallic" taste. They even contacted the individual manufacturers to find out if their recipes had changed.

Supplier Bakkavor "has written to all supermarkets which buy its hummus warning them it has had problem with its manufacturing process, causing the strange taste", adds the Telegraph.

"It refused to say what the issue was but insisted it is not a food safety issue."

What should I do?

You can probably survive without hummus, but if really must get your blended-chickpea hit, there are other brands available or you can go to another supermarket, such as Asda.

You could even make it yourself, although some people have said that hasn't gone well, either.

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