PepsiCo and Strauss Group have completed their joint venture partnership to operate fresh dips maker Sabra, a move that confirms both companies' plans to extend their presence in the growing healthy Mediterranean foods market.
Sabra claims to be a top-selling and fastest-growing maker of hummus, which is a chickpea-based dip originating from the Mediterranean. Sabra products also include eggplant dips, babaganoush spreads and salsa.
Frito-Lay North America's (FLNA), a subsidiary of PapsiCo, expects the addition of Sabra will "expand its role in providing healthier snack options and aligns with the 'fresh' trend."
Al Carey, President and chief executive officer of FLNA said: "We expect Sabra will continue to see positive growth because the products are in line with consumer trends like freshness and health and wellness"
Erez Vigodman, president and chef executive officer of Strauss Group added: "The partnership between Frito-Lay and Strauss will create a complementary set of competencies and expertise that will allow Sabra to lead the fresh dip category and offer consumers in North America a range of fresh dips that meets their desire for healthier, fresh foods."
In an earlier statement to BakeryAndSnacks.com a Frito-Lay spokesperson said that the company's increasing drive towards more health-focused brands reflected PepsiCo's global move to expand into new markets for more nutritious snacks.
PepsiCo's FLNA and Strauss will each own 50 per cent of the business.
A report by Packaged Facts published in January said that in 2007 Mediterranean food in the US became increasingly popular. The overall popularity of ethnic food has never been higher, according to the report.
Nicki Heverling, programme manager for the Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA) has recently said: "Consumer interest in Mediterranean foods continues to grow because it's an eating style that's easy, great tasting and good for you".
She went onto say that in the past year alone over 100 studies have been published supporting "the power of the Med diet from its ability to reduce asthma in children to helping people live longer, healthier lives".
The MFA is a non-profit membership group comprised of companies that make or import Mediterranean products. It aims to improve consumer health by increasing awareness and consumption of Mediterranean food and drinks.
The Sabra joint venture will produce and sell fresh dips and spreads in the US and Canada.