A couple of months ago, Hanes Hummus, a hummus producer from Saskatoon, SK was making international news, coming under fire from Hanes the underwear manufacturer. The purveyors of undergarments had sent a cease-and-desist order to Hanes Hummus owner, Yohannes Petros.
“[They threatened] to sue if I did not do as they asked, immediately, which was to stop selling my products with that name and destroy all inventories and items that mention Hanes Hummus,” explains Petros.
Petros isn’t about to roll over, though. He believes that as an entrepreneur and an individual citizen, it is his responsibility to stand up for himself and his hard work.
“I have worked very hard to build my brand and product from very humble roots in my own kitchen,” he says. “Five years later, I'm not about to sit down easily and quietly because someone in a massive multinational [company] has demanded it. Consumers are not and will not ever buy Hanes Hummus mistaking it for Hanes underwear or bras. They are known as Hanes, and my business is Hanes Hummus.”
Indeed, you should run the other way if you ever see a product that associates dip with men's underwear, but the "Hanes" in Hanes Hummus actually comes from the short form of Petros’ first name, Yohannes.
While the big story has been about a giant corporation wanting to crush the little guy, it’s important to remember that the real story is the hummus itself. Petros started making his own hummus over ten years ago. After the first few years, his friends kept encouraging him to put it on the market, and the rest is hummus history. Since then, he has been perfecting it over time and has carved out a nice little local niche.
“Hanes Hummus is fresh!” says Petros. “The texture and consistency of Hanes Hummus is way thicker than the national brands. You are getting a product that isn't heavily processed in a large industrial facility. It’s not going to drip off of your carrot, cracker, or whatever else you put it on.”
Because Petros uses fresh ingredients, Hanes Hummus packs a punch in both flavour and colour. Most of the processed brands you find in the grocery store are just bland wallpaper pastes of chickpeas with oil, filler and preservatives; Hanes is the diametric opposite. It’s also different from some of the good, but conventional recipes out there. Hanes Hummus is substantial, rich, and delicious, with a cornucopia of zest and flavour coming through in every bite.
No matter what happens with the legal action from Hanes, Petros will continue to make this "little hummus on the Prairie." I can tell you that it’s worth picking up because it’s delectable, but Petros will also remind you about the impact your money has on local economies.
“People have choices,” he says. “[They] can use their dollars to make conscious choices and declarations about their values by supporting local businesses.”
Retailers and restaurants that carry Hanes Hummus
- Dad’s Organic Market
- Ingredients Artisan Market
- The Good Food Junction
- Steep Hill
- Le Prep
- Flint Saloon
- The Bell and Whistle
- Collective Coffee
- Body Fuel Organics
- Italian Star Deli