Your Favorite Hummus Brand Could Be More Expensive Soon and It’s Due to a Global Chickpea Shortage

published Jul 12, 2022
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Crispy chickpeas sit on a black sheet-pan
Credit: Grace Elkus

Since the start of the pandemic we have been experiencing product shortages that, over time, have become somewhat normal to us. Everything from toilet paper and coffee cups, as well as different types of food, condiments, and oils, have been no stranger to the wrath of supply shortages.

While the list of shortages is longer than you probably would like it to be, you can now add one more product that may be hard to find on shelves: hummus. Why, you ask? Well, with the supply of chickpeas in America down so significantly, finding hummus may be difficult — and if you do find it, the price just might be more than you planned to pay for it. But what does that mean moving forward? 

According to Reuters, the war in Ukraine is reportedly a huge factor in the decrease in available supply, with Russia usually accounting for a quarter of the global trade. The Dubai-based Global Pulse Confederation (“pulse” as in legumes like chickpeas) reported to Reuters that global chickpea supplies may drop as much as 20 percent this year.

“Russia is exporting around 200,000 to 250,000 tons per year, minimum,” Navneet Singh Chhabra — the director of the chickpea trading firm, Shree Sheela International — told Reuters. “When the war started in February, the supply was destroyed, totally.” Additionally, he added that Ukraine was not able to plant its typical 50,000-ton chickpea crop this year.  

The war does not account for all the blame, though. The United States holds place as the world’s fourth largest chickpea exporter, but bad weather and a switch to more lucrative crops has put a damper on the production over the last two years. This has resulted in at least 5 percent fewer acres being planted in 2022 as well as overall U.S. stockpiles being down 10 percent.

To make matters even worse, long-standing pandemic-related shipping issues have led to industries of all kinds experiencing a delay in products being shipped. As a result, chickpea prices have been on the rise in the U.S., according to NielsenIQ data, which reportedly found that grocery store prices for chickpeas are up 12 percent from 2021 and 17 percent higher than they were pre-pandemic. To put things into perspective, that makes hummus prices up almost 7 percent since the pre-pandemic year of 2019.   

Looks like we’ll have to cross our fingers and hope that things don’t get too out of hand. For now, however, we’ll have to enjoy hummus at the slightly higher price.