From ‘Clean, Fresh, Healthy’ to ‘Nehad the Jordanian’: Hummus Advertisements in Israel, 1958-2013

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over the past two decades hummus has become one of the foremost Israeli culinary passions, to the extent that people frequently describe themselves as ‘hummus addicts.' In the current Israeli discourse on hummus, it is referred to as one of the main things Israelis miss when they go abroad. The love of hummus often functions as a sign of a newcomer’s integration into Israeli society. Israelis, together with the Lebanese and the Syrians, are the world’s largest hummus consumers, and the dish is consumed across a broad cross section of society. While the object of the passionate discourse on hummus is fresh hummus prepared in a hummusiya (hummus joint), most of the hummus consumed by Israelis is industrial. Hummus was first industrialized in Israel in 1958, and since then has become a millions-of-dollars industry. The product itself has undergone many changes over the years, and so have the meanings associated with it. Whereas in culinary discourse hand-made hummus and industrial hummus are construed as oppositions, in reality they constitute interrelated and mutually constitutive realms of production and consumption. The relationship between these realms is reflected in the discourse on hummus, as meanings which emerged in relation to the industrial product penetrate the discourse on artisanal hummus and vice versa. In this chapter I analyse newspaper ads, film and TV commercials for industrial hummus, beginning in 1958 and continuing until the present day. Through the analysis I trace the changing meanings of hummus in Israel as well as its changing functions within Israeli culinary repertoire, in the context of wider social, cultural and political changes. I will also show how publicity discourse on industrial hummus makes use of meanings associated with hand-made hummus, and how the discourse on hand-made hummus incorporates meanings which were crafted in the context of publicity campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOdysseys of Plates and Palates
Subtitle of host publicationFood, Society and Sociality
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781848883246
ISBN (Print)9789004374362
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Inter-Disciplinary Press 2015.


  • Israel
  • advertisements
  • food industry
  • hummus


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