Meet Abe & Jeff – the co-founders of Habibis Mediterranean Foods!I had the pleasure of visiting the factory in Surrey, BC where they produce 100% of their product line on site. Sourcing local Canadian ingredients is top priority for Habibi’s. In fact, over 75% of the chickpeas come from the Canadian prairies.The chickpeas are soaked overnight and placed in large vats where they are carefully boiled to perfection. From here, they are drained and mixed with the appropriate ingredients to formulate one of the many delicious flavours of hummus.I was shocked that they could produce such a large quantity of hummus in a relatively small space – talk about efficiency! The demand for habibis hummus is such that they sell or ship everything they produce so they don’t require extra storage space.They pride themselves using 100% natural ingredients. In order to extend the shelf life to 45-55 days, they utilize a pressurizing process with nitrogen gas (seen above).I wanted to hear directly from the Habibis team what their thoughts were on the products they’ve created. Here’s the Q&A:
1. What differentiates Habibi’s hummus from other types of hummus?
Firstly I would like to say that Habibi’s is not just a hummus company and we are proud to be so much more. We are really trying to read the market and produce new and innovative things.
We carry an amazing Mediterranean Black Bean Dip, Tzatsiki, Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant dip), Garlic Sauce/dip, Chocolate Tahini and in addition to producing some awesome flavours in our hummus line we will be launching a new line of yogurt and cashew dips as well! This is so exciting for us and hopefully for the food market as well.
We are proud to say that a majority of our ingredients are from Canada and even the containers are from here! I think we like to ask everyone: What’s In Your Hummus? We strongly believe it should be as pure as possible and you should see and feel what you eat. This is why it’s important for us to use real food!
Our recipes are from a long family history (mother, grandmother and great grandmother) and we feel privileged that we have been able to preserve some of these really old authentic family recipes and have it be apart of the Habibi’s family now.
2. You are proud to use 100% natural ingredients in your products. How do you preserve them?
Our main preservatives are olive oil, tahini, sea salt and vinegar. This combo makes a great natural way of preserving our products without any unhealthy additions. The units also go through a machine that sucks the air out and seals the top. This results in a shelf life of about 45 days.
3. What flavour or product are you most proud of?
Honestly, I think we feel really proud of everything that we have made so far and everyone that works for Habibi’s have their own favorites. The zaatar and cumin flavour is something really cool and different, basil we are proud of as well since you can’t find anything like that in the market. Essentially we are proud of everything because we wouldn’t try to sell it unless we really truly believed in it!
My Personal Favourite
I think my personal favourite was the Sriracha Jalapeño and the Basil Hummus. Other noteworthy products were the Lebanese Garlic Sauce (perfect for shrimp or meat) as well as the Greek Yogurt Tzatziki!
The Nutritional Edge….
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of the Habibi’s spreads come in around 10-20 calories per tablespoon! This is more than 50% less than many competing products. They also have less fat, while maintaining a reasonable protein and sodium content without sacrificing on flavour.
Let’s face it, when most of us open a container of hummus we’re not portioning it out. If you’re starting with a higher calorie product it can be easy for that “low cal” or “healthy snack” to add up very quickly, especially if you’re pairing it with crackers or pita chips.
Use vegetables to dip where possible – why not get the added antioxidant bonus without the extra carbs or calories?!
In addition to just dipping, I also like to use hummus as a substitute for mayo. It goes very well with canned tuna or salmon (even tends to cut out some of the fishy taste!) and acts as a great flavour enhancer for fish. Try my 2-ingredient steelhead recipe.
Can you think outside the box to see how these products could fit into your food routine? If you have another great idea for hummus make sure to let me know.
Something BRAND NEW….CHOCOLATE TAHINI!!
This product is absolutely delicious and there is nothing like it on the market. With only 2g of sugar per tablespoon, it’s a great alternative to Nutella (3 tsp or 12g sugar per tablespoon). The ingredients are simple and recognizable (sesame seeds/tahini, cocoa powder and date honey) and it makes an excellent spread for toast – hello pre or post workout! Looks like I was pretty excited to try something new at the factory!
FYI – I was very appreciative that Habibis supplied me with products to share with my clients, family and friends. However, I was not compensated to write this post. These are simply my own thoughts, comments and opinions.