Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Hummus manufacturer Me Too! Foods forced to rebrand because of the #MeToo movement

Being associated with a movement against sexual harassment has done the family-run food brand no favours, it seems

Me Too! Foods, a hummus manufacturer, has to rebrand after global women's movement puts a dent in sales. Instagram
Me Too! Foods, a hummus manufacturer, has to rebrand after global women's movement puts a dent in sales. Instagram

In January last year, Me Too! Foods made the news as the family-owned North London hummus manufacturer was struggling because of a global chickpea shortage. It caused the price of a tub of our favourite Middle Eastern dip to soar by almost 30 per cent, according to The Grocer.

The price of a 250g tub had gone up by 12p (about 50 fils). A 500g tub went up 19p.

Around the same time, the #MeToo movement started gathering momentum – the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein had broke only a few months earlier.

It was seemingly the beginning of the end for 14-year-old Me Too! Foods.

In 2018, brand founder Ramona Hazan said: "We do not want to lose customers as a result of price inflation." Fast-forward to 2019 and – despite the fact that her trendy products are vegan, gluten-free and locally made – lose customers they have. But Hazan, who was born to an Egyptian father and has Turkish grandparents, doesn't think it has anything to do with inflation any more.

"We haven't got a definitive answer on this, but we are 90 per cent sure that our name is not something anyone wants to put on the shelf," Ms Hazan told The Guardian yesterday (January 23).

At first, the company owner contemplated jumping on the viral hashtag's bandwagon, aligning her female-run brand, which also produces various types of falafel and pickles, with the women's movement. "I thought, what happens if we really jump into this and use it as a marketing tool," she said. "Me Too! for #MeToo." But, in the end, she decided she didn't want to make a profit from other people's suffering.

Now Hazan has made the executive decision to rebrand (although the new "more straightforward" name has yet to be determined). "If something else has changed the meaning of 'Me Too', that's OK."

You might think it's a strange name for a brand of hummus in the first place (we certainly did). It turns out Hazan comes from a big family, and as the youngest of three siblings she was forever trying to get the others' attention by crying out "Me too! Me too!".

"It became a family thing."

Updated: January 29, 2019 05:20 PM