- Sabra Dipping Company opened a pop-up restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village to showcase gourmet meals made with its brand of hummus. The company collaborated with chef and cookbook author Einat Admony to transform her Kish-Kash restaurant into the "Whirled Peas" pop-up experience from Oct. 11 to Nov. 24, with reservations available through the Resy app and website, per a press release.
- Admony and five other chefs created a group of original dishes that use hummus, the Middle Eastern dish whose core ingredients are ground chickpeas, sesame seed paste and olive oil. The star chefs include Wes Avila and Jet Tila from Los Angeles, Esther Choi from New York, Deborah VanTrece from Georgia and Kwame Onwuachi from Washington, D.C.
- As part of the promotion, Sabra is funding a scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America, which has campuses in Hyde Park, New York; St. Helena, California; San Antonio, Texas, and Singapore. The company will award the Sabra Rising Chef scholarship to a culinary student for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Sabra's pop-up restaurant is part of the broader experiential marketing trend that seeks to cut through ad clutter and deepen connection between brands and consumers. With many younger people seeking unique culinary experiences they can share on social media, brands are making gourmet food more central to their experiential marketing.
By opening a pop-up restaurant for a limited time, Sabra aims to highlight the versatility of hummus as an ingredient in a broader range of recipes rather than simply as a dip for snacking or parties. Repositioning hummus as a cooking ingredient may help to lift sales for Sabra, which is jointly owned by PepsiCo and Israeli food company Strauss Group. PepsiCo reported a double-digit decline in the sales volume of its Sabra joint venture products for Q3, offsetting growth for its Frito-Lay snack division in North America.
A number of marketers have focused on creating unique dining experiences as a way to engage with consumers. Payments company Mastercard in August opened a permanent international culinary collective called Priceless that showcases foods from famous international restaurants. Only Mastercard cardholders are allowed access to the dining experience, which is located at the Spring Place shared workspace and private club in New York City. Similarly, hotel chain Marriott International recently featured gourmet food in an exclusive festival on a private island available to members of the hotel chain's loyalty program.
Sabra's fine-dining approach contrasts with another recent promotional effort from the brand that focused on hummus as a food embraced by vegans and included an emergency toll-free hotline, 1-866-Code-Vegan, to help barbecue hosts better cater to their vegan guests. "The Vegans are Coming" campaign was inspired by internal research showing roughly half of surveyed U.S. adults are unsure how to best cater to vegan visitors. The hotline provided free "Rescue Kits" featuring vegan-friendly flatbread recipes, coupons and themed laptop stickers.