What started off as a small, home-grown hummus business has flourished into an ever-growing empire, supplying many of the hottest hummus-toting spots about town. The brains behind the hummus Jen Iannuzzi, also known as “The Hummus Lady”, was nice enough to give us the skinny on her new hummus flavors, partnerships, and a bazaar that will be opening up in Pudong in the near future.
What new products have you been working on at The Hummus Lady?
I am always trying out new add-ins to offer my customers variety even though I already offer 6 flavors to add to my original hummus. I have recently introduced a snack size hummus (so not really a new product), but new packaging along with fresh pre-cut veggie packs for a quick take and go healthy snack. This has been great because I offer this at some of the food markets and bazaars I attend. Something to eat now and an original size to take for later.
I am very excited about the Lebanese dressing and marinade I will be introducing very soon. It was my husband’s idea to offer this a product because it is something that I make for my family. But instead of selling a liquid dressing, I will offer the dry seasonings with instructions to add your choice of oil and lemon juice. Everyone has a preference based on taste and health choices so along with the dry ingredients, I will have a pre-measured dressing bottle so you won’t have to use a measuring cup…just fill to the line with lemon juice, oil and add the dry ingredients and shake. It’s very easy, healthy and tangy like a vinaigrette but to me it’s fresher.
Have you made any new partnerships with any businesses that are opening up in the city? Can you tell me about them?
Yes, my first partnership per se was with the Pantry. That has brought me over from Pudong to Puxi and my business has been growing every month. As of recent, I have started two new partnerships. One with Brothers Kebab, which is a restaurant opening in the Former French Concession very soon. The other is with Spread the Bagel, a bagel delivery service here in Shanghai.
With Brothers Kebab, I will supply hummus to their restaurant as a menu item that will be served along with their shawarma’s and wraps. They will also carry some tubs of my original hummus as a take-away item. Spread the Bagel approached me last Spring with the idea of an alternate bagel spread. Christine will be offering my hummus as well as one or two of the add-ins for a higher protein option to spread on her delicious bagels. I never thought I would be in this position, making partnerships and creating relationships like this, but it is very exciting.
How has your business evolved over the last year?
In the last year (and its first year), I have gone from selling my hummus out of my home offering only the original Hummus to my friends and at bazaars and markets to having it in several retail stores in both Pudong and Puxi.
I have actually reached a point in my business that I can no longer make all the hummus by myself so I have finally hired my first employee. I have in the past had my ayi make I while I was on vacation but I always felt guilty because I wasn’t actually making it, but that’s okay. Now I can increase production to reach more customers.
What are some of the greatest excitements and challenges of working in Shanghai in the food business? What’s the most random/crazy/funny thing that has happened while being The Hummus Lady?
My absolute favorite thing is when someone reads an article about me, and they say, “Jen, I didn’t know you were the Hummus Lady. Why didn’t I know that?! I’ve been buying your hummus at the store all this time.” It just makes me chuckle a bit, but I truly am proud of having something people have been looking for for a very long time.
Any other exciting developments in the works that our Shanghaiist community should know about?
Well I am glad you ask this because it’s not a partnership relating to the Hummus Lady business per se, but I am partnering up with my mentor and “partner in crime” Leslie McMillan aka Goji Girl to open up a Bazaar Boutique inside the new Chapin House. Artisan Eats & Boutique is located on the mezzanine level at 2622 Jinqiao Rd in Pudong. The idea behind this concept is to bring all of your favorite bazaar vendors under one roof. We have Shanghai favorites like Pilar, Finch, Elke Martini, Goji Girl, Amelia and of course yours truly just to name a very few…we have over 35 vendors in this one location at one given time.
Visit Jen’s website here.
By Charlotte Evans
Charlotte Evans is a food contributor for Shanghaiist’s Food Desk. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s food scene to [email protected].