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A Global Chickpea Shortage Is Threatening to Drive Up Hummus Prices

The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the issue, but American stockpiles were already down.

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Everyone is used to shortages because to COVID, war, bird flu, climate change, and possibly just poor luck: We have discussed supply difficulties with coffee cups, fertilizer, sunflower oil, Subway meats, popcorn, and, yes, Huy Fong Sriracha, only in 2022. So what will be eliminated next? Apparently, the United States should be concerned about a rise in hummus prices as chickpea stockpiles are down by a sizeable enough amount.

According to the Dubai-based Global Pulse Confederation, supply of chickpeas around the world could decline by as much as 20% this year, according to a Reuters article from last week. (By “pulse,” I don’t mean the sensation you get on your wrist; I mean the pulse of legumes like chickpeas.) According to reports, the conflict in Ukraine is a significant influence, in large part because Russia generally makes up a quarter of global trade.

According to Navneet Singh Chhabra, director of the chickpea trade company Shree Sheela International, Russia exports at least 200,000 to 250,000 tonnes annually. “The supply was completely decimated when the war broke out in February.” Additionally, Ukraine was unable to sow its usual 50,000-ton chickpea crop, he continued.

But the United States is also somewhat to blame. The United States is really the fourth-largest exporter of chickpeas in the world, but production has been impeded over the previous two years by bad weather and a transition to more lucrative crops. As a result, fewer acres will be planted in 2022, and overall U.S. inventories will decline by 10%.

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Meanwhile, the pandemic-related transportation problems that have affected industries of many types have made these issues even worse (including a billion pounds of almonds stuck in California). And as a result, chickpea prices have risen in the United States: According to NielsenIQ data, prices for hummus and chickpeas in grocery stores have both increased by close to seven percent since 2019 and by 12 percent since 2021, respectively.

However, Sabra’s CEO Joey Bergstein told Reuters that the company was taking precautions “to defend against the unexpected” and that there were plenty of chickpeas on hand to keep the American hummus market supplied.

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