Whether it’s labelled ‘hummus’ or ‘houmous’, people love that chickpea dip. And they’re taking a UK supermarket shortage of it pretty badly.
Described variously as a “quality issue” and a “production issue at our supplier”, a problem last week left branches of Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Tesco without hummus.
And while M&S says it has restocked, many Tesco stores appear unaffected and Sainsbury’s insists the situation is temporary, social media has exploded with pictures of empty shelves and hashtags including #hummuscrisis, #houmousgate and, obviously, #firstworldproblems.
It appears the issue was sparked in the last few weeks, with customers complaining that the product didn’t taste as good as it used to. One user wrote: “Blurgh @sainsburys . What you done to your #hummus? Ruined my French bread. If it's a new recipe please get the old one back in production”.
To which Sainsbury’s replied: “Hey, we've temporarily removed a number of houmous lines from sale due to a production issue at our supplier. We expect to be fully stocked within a couple of days and are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Another complained: “what has happened 2 your hummus? it used to taste so nice? but i ate some today and it didnt taste nice pls answer i love hummus”.
While one (somewhat apologetic) customer posted: “I'm sorry to have to do this to you. But I love hummus & I buy lots from you. This doesn't taste right. It's like eating plastic”.
M&S was also contacted, with one customer claiming: “@marksandspencer Hi. Often buy your hummus but got one earlier this week, tasted of plastic. May need to check batch?” and another writing, “Send help @marksandspencer - my colleagues are complaining that your hummus recipe has changed. Only topic of conversation in the office.”
And so the offending hummus products were then recalled, with one user tweeting a picture of all the lines affected at Sainsbury’s:
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told stylist.co.uk: “We've temporarily removed a number of houmous lines from sale due to a production issue at our supplier. We expect to be fully stocked tomorrow and are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.”
A product is not up to scratch and is taken off the shelves – seems pretty straightforward.
But in the days since the recall, everyone’s been getting a bit antsy:
And some of the tongue-in-cheek posts revealing desolate, empty hummus shelves have described it as a “vegan’s worst nightmare”, causing “emotional distress” and “very serious”.
There's been no hummus in Sainsburys for like 3 days. A vegan's worst nightmare.— how patriarchal of u (@CresswellLauren) April 25, 2017
the sainsburys houmous shortage has actually ruined my week— charlotte (@charlmarston) April 25, 2017
However, not all was lost as some turned to Asda:
And others were offered handy hints from supermarket staff:
According to theguardian.com, own-brand hummus at Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco is from the same supplier, which confirmed a problem with the manufacturing process, but insisted there were no safety issues.
With Sainsbury’s assuring us the chain would be restocked tomorrow, the question is: do you want hummus now or do you want hummus right?