Louisville’s Hope Foods is making hummus history
It all started with avocados, spices, chickpeas and a dream. When a group of friends came up with a few great hummus recipes, it seemed natural to share them with the world. “We asked ourselves, ‘What if this thing we authentically enjoy could be something that everybody else could enjoy and we could come up with even more creative flavors by matching up the hummus with other healthy ingredients and create something totally new?’ ” says Robbie Rech, president of Hope Foods.
The friends started out by selling their hummus at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market in April 2011 (“On Friday night, we’d all make hummus for four or five hours, put it in coolers, get up at 5 a.m. the next day and take it to the market,” Rech says). Clearly a labor of love—the public loved it, too—and that’s how Hope was born. Today, the Louisville-based company makes nine flavors (the three most popular: Original, Spicy Avocado and Black Garlic), with two more coming out this year. After expanding into Boulder and then Denver natural food stores, Hope is now in 6,000 stores across the country. Rech fills us in on the brand.
Where they got their name
“We called it Hope because, from the beginning, we liked to imagine what this company could be, imagining the potential of healthy, refrigerated dips that are a little bit better for you, that are creative and unique and that could transform the category of snacking.”
Why it’s good for you
“Traditional hummus has four ingredients: chickpeas, tahini, oil and lemon juice. It’s got plant-based protein, healthy fat—we use extra virgin olive oil—and you typically eat it with vegetables, so you get a really complete and balanced set of nutrients. Plus, we use a cold-pressed process, rather than cooking the hummus, so that keeps the ingredients fresher.”
All those crazy flavors
“In our vault, we probably have 40 or 50 flavors. Some have potential, and some we tried and thought, uh, not really— those are the ones I try to erase from my memory. And some are good but just didn’t catch on in the market. For a limited time, we had a chocolate hummus with a semisweet flavor profile being tested in the marketplace. We really believe in it. It’s funny, because when people are asked about chocolate hummus, they rank it low, but then when they taste it, it’s near the top.”
Testing … 1, 2, 3
“The way we come up with new flavors is definitely a team effort. Take our Black Garlic hummus. We knew that garlic was a popular hummus flavor, but we’ve never wanted to do a ‘me, too’ product. Then one day our product developer suggested we use black garlic, one that’s been lightly fermented and caramelized in a 60-day process. Then we started iterating and iterating until it tasted exactly right. It’s definitely not a ‘throw it in the blender and you’ve got it’ process. It’s rigorous; for our Buffalo Blue flavor, which is coming out this year, it took us 52 tries.”
All-natural, vegan, gluten-free hummus and guacamole sold at most area grocers