A couple of years ago, I was a Sabra Dipping Co. Tastemaker and got to go to their Richmond, Virginia plant and see how hummus is made.
Fast forward two years later, and I get an email from Sabra Dipping Co. inviting me to be part of an alumni/current Tastemaker event in New York City this June. I thought about it and said “Yes,” even though that meant I would have to get on an airplane and fly to the Big Apple. Seriously, though – I was really excited to go because the last time I was in NYC was when I was on the Dr. Oz show and that was in February during a huge snowstorm. Needless to say, I didn’t see much of the city during the Dr. Oz trip.
Sabra Dipping Co. put us up at the amazing Blakely Hotel on 57th Avenue, which was a few blocks from Central Park and Times Square. The rooms were enormous by NYC standards. Wow.
That night we went to dinner at Benihana and then saw The Lion King at the Minskoff theatre. It was an amazing show and I was totally transported.
I got up the next morning and headed off to Central Park for a quick 3-mile walk. I couldn’t believe how many people were out and about that early, nor could I believe the hills there!
After my walk, we all headed off to the advertising agency that handles the Sabra Dipping Co. campaigns and met several of the Sabra executives as well as the folks in charge of marketing.
We learned that although most people in America have heard of hummus, there are still a lot of people who do not really know what hummus is. For example, their marketing people found out that some people thought hummus was hard like a bar of soap. They makes a ton of different hummus flavors, including my favorite, Basil Pesto. Sadly, I can only get that flavor when I’m visiting the big city because our local grocery stores have a very limited selection. Sabra also makes Greek Greek yogurt dips, salsa, and guacamole.
We got to try some of the products and preview their upcoming television advertisements. I am a naturally curious person, so I found the process of deciding what types of ads to produce very interesting. Because so many people are not really familiar with hummus, the new ads focus on the basics. In fact, the tag line of the ad campaign we saw was “A Guide to Good Dipping.”
After the presentation, we had a Q&A session where the executives talked about upcoming ideas and how we use hummus ourselves. Personally, I use it as a spread, a dip, instead of mayo in foods like Deviled Eggs and have even tried chocolate hummus.
The Sabra folks then took us to a place to paint little bowls (which I was terrible at) and we had a selection of vegan sushi. I felt like a total loser because I cannot use chopsticks and had to use a little tiny serving spoon to eat. (Notice the purple spoon on the plate. 🙁 ) The vegan sushi was interesting but way different than anything I had ever had before.
Later we visited the American Museum of Natural History (more pictures here) and then after the museum closed, we got a private tour of the special exhibit, The Global Kitchen. That was so interesting.
We learned that about 30 percent of food produced goes to waste, and about 35 percent of adults in the world are overweight or obese. Our guide told us about sustainable farming practices used throughout the world. We saw models of square watermelons, and learned that farmers in Japan can grow watermelons in molds to make them square for easier transportation. Suspended between an open wall, we got to see an example of hydroponic gardening, which would be an option in places where the climate is not conducive to a long growing season or space is at a premium.
We finished up the night at Max Brenner, a great restaurant that had wonderful food and excellent chocolate desserts. I had a few bites of fondue, a great lemon and herb chicken, and steamed vegetables. Awesome!
If you have never tried Sabra hummus, here’s your chance to win a Sabra hummus prize package. Three readers will get two coupons for free Sabra hummus and an iPad stand and stylus. (Not an iPad, sadly.) The stand will accommodate most small tablets and eReaders.
Want to enter? Simply leave me a comment and tell me if you’ve ever had hummus and whether or not you like it! Check back on Saturday, July 5th for the winner! I’ll draw three winners and email each one.
Thanks for reading about my journey to New York!! Good luck on winning the Sabra prize package. Diane
Disclosure: Even though I went on the trip at Sabra’s expense and was compensated, all opinions expressed are totally my own. We buy Sabra hummus regularly and even my 5-year-old eats it.
Update: The winners were Kim, Molly, and Alpa! Congratulations to each of you.