Hummus Prices are Rising Due to Climate Change

By Sophy Owuor on February 14 2020 in Economics

Chickpea hummus, avocado hummus and lentils hummus on wooden table.
  • Hummus is a popular spread made from chickpeas
  • Hummus price increases from high demand and insufficient chickpeas
  • Hummus prices have increased by about 12% in Britain
  • Other food prices have also been affected by climate change

Hummus is a dip or spread made with mashed chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, olive oil, and salt. Other ingredients like pine nuts or red pepper can also be added to the dish to make it tastier. Hummus is a popular dish in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Europe, and North America. It is a staple ingredient in most vegan and vegetarian diets. Although this popular food can be prepared at home, most people prefer ready-made food in stores and supermarkets. However, shoppers, especially in the UK, have noticed a hike in hummus prices in recent weeks.

Climate Change To Blame For Rising Hummus Prices

An increase in demand for hummus coupled with insufficient chickpeas in India has resulted in skyrocketing prices. In Britain, the price of this popular spread has increased by about 12%, higher than the inflation rate for groceries which is 3.6. Chickpea is an important source of protein. India, which is the largest consumer and producer of the legume, has witnessed decreased yield due to insufficient rain patterns in recent years.

A lot of water is required to produce chickpeas. It is estimated that the global production of the legume has decreased by about 40% because of drought. India, which mainly grow chickpeas for local consumption, has now been forced to import the legumes, putting pressure on the global supply and driving up prices. To prevent further shortfall, scientists in Ethiopia and Scotland are working to come up with drought-resistant chickpeas.

Britain Worst Hit

Hummus is a local obsession in the UK. Introduced in Britain in the 1990s, the staple now constitutes an industry worth around $140 million. With the growing need for a healthy diet in the UK, the countrywide demand for the nutritious spread is expected to grow even further in the coming years. With the country importing about a third of its food, the shortage of chickpeas was expected to hit the country the hardest. Hummus prices expected to rise even further in the UK due to the global shortage of the legume.

This is not the first time Britain is suffering a hummus crisis. In 2017, the sweet spread was pulled from the shelves of certain grocery chains after several customers complained of unusual taste. The problem was fixed very fast and the food was back to the shelves. The shortage caused by high demand and limited supply will persist for some time and may not be fixed if the climate change is not reversed.

Hummus Is Not The Only Food Affected By Climate Change

The effect of climate on hummus prices is only one of the many examples of the effect of weather in one part of the world resulting in price rises and a shortfall in other parts of the world. When Madagascar was hit by a cyclone in 2017, the prices of vanilla pods around the world shot over the roof. The African nation accounts for about 80% of the global vanilla supply. The drought in California from 2013-2015 was responsible for the sharp increase in almond prices.

Hummus is a popular food in most parts of the world, including the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Increased demand and supply shortage has contributed to the sharp increase in the prices of the spread. The global shortage of chickpeas has resulted from long periods of drought, especially in India.

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