Not just any hummus: Bobbi’s hummus is made locally in Philadelphia.
“Bobbi’s hummus is the absolute best,” gushed one Philly blogger on http://www.abrooklynlife.com while arguing with hard-core New Yorkers who favor a brand called Sabra’s. “All fresh ingredients, no preservatives. Eat it right out of the tub!”
“Bobbi’s is food of the gods,” said Chowhound blogger Miss Funky Soul, who hails from the Philly ‘burbs.
“Truly and seriously. I think it is so good because it has a lot of garlic, more lemon juice than most and zero tahini. . . . If I don’t have a tub of this stuff in the house, I feel totally deprived.”
The family affair
The guy behind Bobbi’s, Robert Katz, his late father, Aaron Katz, founded Philly UHF Channel 17 and other UHF stations around the country. His mother, Barbara “Bobbi” Katz, founded Bobbi’s. Growing up in such an entrepreneurial family, it was a no-brainer for Robert Katz to buy the hummus business in 2006.
Barbara Katz began making hummus as a lark at home. Her recipe became so beloved by family and friends, she decided to take a plunge and open a hummus-only business in 1993. Back then, most people viewed hummus as an exotic treat to sample at Mediterranean restaurants.
“My mother was always a creative individual. When we lived in California, she used to make it for my brother and me as a snack,” said Katz. “It clearly morphed into a garlic concoction. It ended up attracting a clientele that loves garlic.”
Katz is expanding up and down the Eastern seaboard and hopes to go national. This year, projected earnings are expected to reach $5 million.
That’s a lot of chickpeas.
Hummus’ diversity as a dip alternative to fattening sour cream, or as a mayo alternative in sandwiches, as well as other uses, has made it more and more popular.
“It’s hummus by name but it provides many more healthy applications that suit almost any consumer’s needs and wants,” said Katz.
Nutritionists say hummus is a healthy food for many reasons, not the least of which is its main ingredient, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, a good source of fiber. It also incorporates olive oil, a healthy monounsaturated fat.
It’s low in calories, too.
Two tablespoons of typical store-bought hummus are about 45 calories, with about 2 to 4 grams of fat (some of it saturated fat, due to the tahini) and zero cholesterol.
Bobbi’s, made without tahini, has 65 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving.