In a recent interview, when asked what the one food she had to have in her fridge was, pop icon Taylor Swift quickly replied “hummus.” Yes, that once exotic dip found only in “ethnic” restaurants is now an American pantry staple beloved by all. And consumers aren’t limited in choices: the options range from simple (plain), to traditional (garlic) to adventurous (Old Bay seasoned).
HOPE Food is aiming to elevate the dip and win a spot in consumer’s refrigerators by standing out. The line, which was founded in 2010, utilizes High Pressure Processing (HPP) for its hummus. The method, which uses pressure instead of heat to kill bacteria, is widely used with juices, but HOPE is the only nationally distributed hummus brand using HPP. The brand also has drawn interest for its eye catching branding and unique flavor offerings such as chocolate hummus and it’s flagship spicy avocado hummus.
Now the brand is ready to turn its sights on a new category, guacamole. “We think that there’s a space to put our brand and bring our personality to a huge product in the American diet that hasn’t had a whole lot of consistent branding behind it,” Will Burger, Marketing Director at HOPE, says. “There’s not a lot of dynamic brands doing guacamole.”
Debuting at Expo West in March, the guacamole is currently under category review with several retailers, and will roll out nationally mid summer. The line will also utilize HPP and will debut in mild and spicy varieties, with a mango flavor soon to follow.
Helping fund the expansion was an investment in the second half of 2015. The details of the $2.2 million round were kept under wraps aside from the fact that most of the funding came from friends and family. However it’s recently become known that the only institutional strategic partner in the round was new fund BIGR, an investment firm founded by the former managers of Boulder Brands’ venture capital group,
The relationship came about in part, says Burger, because HOPE and BIGR both call Colorado their home. “We’re excited to partner with people that understand us and understand our type of business,” Burger notes.
The capital also helped HOPE purchase a new HPP machine, which will increase HOPE’s capacity by 10 times, a necessary expenditure given the new guacamole line.
Although HOPE believes HPP is the right method for its hummus, Burger says consumers still don’t fully grasp what HPP means. “We’re trying to educate consumers that HPP means fresh,” Burger says. “You wouldn’t make hummus in your blender and then heat it on your stovetop just cause.”