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The New Arab

Sexual abuse outrage forces 'Me Too' hummus sales to dip

Despite early successes, sales started dipping for the hummus brand. [Instagram]

Date of publication: 24 January, 2019

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The global movement has pushed one family-owned business to consider a rebranding...
A British family-owned food company specialising in Middle Eastern staples such as hummus and falafel has been struggling for business since a global social movement against sexual harassment erupted in late 2017.

The problem? The vegetarian food range happened to be called 'Me Too!' - the term used as the global hashtag encouraging survivors of sexual abuse to share their stories.

Despite early successes, sales initially started dipping for the hummus brand in early 2018 as a global chickpea shortage saw the price of hummus skyrocket by around a third in British supermarkets.

But as time went on, company founder Ramona Hazan realised something more was at play. Sharing the name of a viral movement speaking out against sexual abuse was affecting her brand's desirability.

"We haven't got a definitive answer on this, but we are 90 percent sure that our name is not something anyone wants to put on the shelf," Hazan, who is of Egyptian and Turkish ancestry, told The Guardian.

The company's name originated from a playful childhood anecdote, when - as the youngest of three children - Hazan had to fight to be included in family games and so would shout to her siblings "Me too!"

"It's not as though we're Coca-Cola and could turn around and go: 'Guys, stop using my name,'" said the British businesswoman, speaking of her initial reaction.

Hazan also considered trying to capitalise on the viral hashtag as a marketing tool, but said ultimately that she did not want to profit "on the back of other people's suffering".

Just over a year after this women's movement began, and with little sign of the viral hashtag's power waning, Hazan says its time for a rebrand to something "a little bit more straightforward", although the new name has yet to be decided.

"If something else has changed the meaning of 'Me Too', that's OK," she said.

What do you think the Hazan family should call their hummus? Join the conversation by tweeting to us: @The_NewArab, or in the comments section below...

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