“Ten years ago most people here did not know what this brown paste was,” says Anthony Brahimsha of the chickpea dip that is now nearly ubiquitous on menus in the U.S.
Born to Syrian parents, Brahimsha knew that hummus in the Middle East is much better than that found in American grocery stores. With the help of Mike McCloskey, owner of Select Milk Producers, the sixth largest dairy cooperative in the country, he developed a hummus called Prommus that is higher in protein—three times that of other dips. It preserves the traditional flavor by using cold pressure, rather than heat, in the kitchen.
“What Halo Top is to ice cream and Chobani is to yogurt, we are to hummus,” Brahimsha says, by way of explaining that Prommus is also changing the industry.
The company name is a combination of the words “protein” and “hummus,” but is also a play on the word “promise.” With 1 percent of sales benefitting the World Food Program to fight global hunger, Brahimsha hopes that the product can have a significant effect on ending hunger and making nutritious foods available wherever they are needed.
While the initial idea was born out of his humanitarian work in refugee camps along the Turkish/Syrian border, Brahimsha has even bigger dreams. The world needs to find more ways to make nutritious foods for people who are going hungry, and he thinks Prommus and its innovative production process are part of the solution. Two patents are currently pending.
The company’s four varieties (original, red pepper, olive, and avocado) are sold in the Midwest, primarily in Illinois and Michigan. These flavors were taste-tested by Brahimsha’s fellow members at Chicago’s WeWork 111 W Illinois St, a community that he says has been invaluable to the startup.
“There are a lot of coworking spaces, but not everywhere is a community of social entrepreneurs who are rooting for their peers,” he says.
A winner in the business venture category at the Nashville Creator Awards, he says he’ll be able to start the next stage of expansion for his company, primarily by adding staff.
“As soon as you win this award, all the blood sweat and tears that you put into the company comes together,” he says. “Everything that you have been doing, the people that were with you along the way, finally, it feels like an affirmation that you were doing the right thing.”