Haig’s brand hummus is my all time favorite dip. It is perfectly creamy and tastes fresh and delicious. I can only find it at my small local Co-op grocery store, which tends to sell a lot of environmentally friendly and vegetarian food options. I’m a bit disappointed to find out that Haig’s website does not even have a sustainability section! Beyond listing the ingredients of each of their spreads, they fail to inform their consumers of the sources of their ingredients, details about their supply chain or production processes, or any other measures they are taking to try and be more sustainable. Haig’s is a family run small company but this is no excuse to lack transparency, and demonstrate no regard for sustainability.
The ingredients in Haig’s hummus are simple: Garbanzo Beans, Tahini, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Spices, and Sea Salt. It includes no added preservatives, and is certified Kosher, plant based, and Non-Gmo. However, that's about where the information from Haig’s website ends. It is easy to assess the health and nutrients of this product: this hummus is oil free, low in fats and salt, and very high in protein. Haig’s has a separate line of Organic dips, which makes me question why they don’t choose to use organic ingredients in all their products, to improve their sustainability.
Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans are a great source of plant based protein, and therefore hummus is a great option for individuals to cut back on their meat consumption. In general, garbanzo beans and sesame seeds (used to make tahini found in this hummus) are both relatively sustainable, and it has been found that growing chickpeas can actually be beneficial to the environment! Chickpeas are nitrogen fixers, and can help to restore soils depleted by years of intensive farming. Because chickpeas are able to draw in nitrogen from the air, chickpeas require less harmful nitrogen fertilizers. A farm of chickpeas can help to decrease greenhouse gasses, increase soil health, as well as use less water than other crops. Therefore, none of the ingredients used in this hummus are inherently detrimental to the environment, meaning this product is a much better option for a protein source than animal products, I just wish that Haig’s would demonstrate efforts to be transparent with their consumers about the source of their ingredients .
Haig’s hummus label says “handmade since 1956.” Because the company is relatively small, the hummus is made in small batches and their products aren't made in huge energy intensive factories. This is a plus but they are still strongly lacking in other areas. While it is common for chickpea farming to be less detrimental to the environment than other crops, as well as be a protein alternative to meat products that requires much less resources, Haigs does not provide any information about the source of their chickpeas, or the farming practices being implemented, or the treatment of the farmers. As a vegetarian, I’m convinced that chickpeas are amazing, but to find this information I had to conduct my own outside research, and it is difficult to assess if Haigs hummus is any more sustainable than competing hummus brands.
They are also lacking in the packaging area. Haigs hummus comes in a plastic container, and they don’t acknowledge any reasoning or mention efforts to phase out the use of plastic in their products. There are obvious solutions that could greatly improve the overall sustainability of their products such as a switch to a more sustainable packaging option.
Haigs is a family company that started as a small shop in San Francisco. It is a local favorite, and they do create very delicious and healthy dips! However, I am strongly disappointed that Haigs does not acknowledge any of the issues in the food system, or make a switch to their packaging and sustainability practices. While their products are not inherently environmentally degrading, there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of transparency and sustainability!