Sabra’s fresh repackaging

Through a redesign and sampling efforts, the hummus brand is appealing to consumers looking for more real ingredients.


While Sabra has historically performed well in the market, consumers were searching for more real ingredients  the hummus brand saw repackaging as an opportunity to add visual cues that consumers look for when purchasing fresh food.

On shelves this week, Sabra’s new packaging focuses on the idea of kitchen fresh: photography of whole plant-based ingredients (such as roasted red pepper, caramelized onions, roasted garlic) shot atop a wooden cutting board. “It was an opportunity to bring flavours and ingredients to life,” says Kelly Freeman, marketing manager at Sabra.

Vertical labels (using bolder fonts and brighter colours) guide the eye to the new logo and ingredients list. The new Sabra sun logo is illustrated as a chickpea and the five rays of the sun represent the company’s core values: openness, trust, passion, caring and daring.

New York’s BeardWood and Co. created the overall design for the new packaging, with Toronto-based agency Slingshot adapting it for Canada. The Canadian and U.S. packaging is almost identical, the only difference is the Canadian version had to play with scale to allow for two languages on its packaging.

The brand targets adults age 35 to 55 with kids. The sweet spot is 44 years of age, and someone who enjoys entertaining, but also wants to enjoy the product on an regular basis.

The campaign, by agency 360i, begins May 10 and rolls for the balance of the year. The agency created a digital campaign that delivers on the premise that Sabra is a feel-good food, using real photography and outdoor settings to showcase where people can consume the hummus. Half of its digital budget will be spent on driving social contests.

Freeman says that while 80% of Canadians are aware of hummus as a spread, only 35% purchase it and less than 10% buy the Sabra brand. “The goal is to drive awareness and drive product penetration to Sabra.”

In store, the brand has tried options such as shelf blades but hasn’t seen enough of a lift to invest in it. Instead, it found the best way to promote the brand in the store was with demos using ambassadors.

“Sampling is the cornerstone of the brand’s growth in Canada,” says Feeman. “We spend over half of our marketing budget on sampling. We know we have a winning formula; we need to get more Canadians to consume it.”

Launch handled sampling, while Pumped worked on the experiential component, with LC3 Communications on PR. The brand also uses guerilla marketing for sampling whether it’s during a running event or a Friday afternoon handing out products on the street. The brand has ongoing demos at over 900 major retail stores across the country.

It’s also partnering with TIFF this year to provide sampling bites via pop-up carts for the second time. “The demographic is a great fit,” says Freeman, adding that Sabra samples over three million people at various consumer shows across the country. The company uses coupons, handing them out during consumer shows, in-store, at demo events and on the website.

Sabra’s market share sits at 24.4% and has been growing 33% over the same period last year. Freeman says the product is available at all major Canadian retailers. The brand is bringing more people in, but its penetration is hovering at 10%.