By scanning the hummus section of your local Seattle grocer, you may spot the bursting packaging of ZIVA hummus; authentically Mediterranean-made hummus by ZIVA Mediterranean Foods. ZIVA hummus; an idea born from the food stands of Israel by co-owner and trained chef Tomer Shneor. Tomer grew up eating at hummus stands across his neighborhood and upon emigrating to the U.S., worked in restaurants and grocery stores in Seattle. Seeking that same taste of homemade hummus, he realized there was an opportunity to share that beloved flavor with the people of Seattle.
With the idea in motion and his co-founder, Jody Haynes by his side – ZIVA Mediterranean Foods was born. Lovingly named after Tomer’s mother in Israel, the packaging reflects the meaning of the name, ‘brilliance, light, and radiance.’
A few years ago, at Food Biz Day, co-owner Jody was able to connect with someone at Whole Foods that was interested in their product. From there, it was steady growth for the hummus duo. As they grew, they encountered areas they needed support. Jody and Tomer found the support and resources they needed by tuning into webinars and classes offered at Business Impact NW. They found webinars specific to packaged foods, as well as general business tips and advice sessions. Recently, Jody and Tomer participated in Food Biz Week.
Jody mentioned she found the event valuable in that,
“you hear from a great variety of businesses, from new to more established…the conversations were flexible, and really makes you realize you are not alone in this.”
As ZIVA is steadily growing, the hummus duo has established their production facility in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. They opened their space to be shared by other businesses such as Haxan Ferments and Local Yokels.
Seeing the benefits gained from working in collaboration with other small food businesses, Jody mentioned how she wants to keep building on ZIVA’s community impact. “In the early stages [of ZIVA], we had a lot of trouble finding space…you know, we just couldn’t find a space we could establish ourselves in.” Jody continued, “This is [what led us] to build our second business, Tojo Commissary; as a way to offer a space and opportunity for other growing small food businesses.”
In the future, Jody and Tomer are looking to grow ZIVA Mediterranean Foods to offer a broader range of flavors for their hummus, as well as explore recipes for new products. As they continue to grow and thrive, they want to keep their focus on building community collaborations and continuing to provide opportunities for other aspiring food entrepreneurs. A mission we can all get behind and indulge in bringing new flavors to the community.
To learn more about ZIVA Mediterranean Foods and find some near you, visit their website here.
About the author
Carolina is responsible for leading the Marketing and Communications department. She has a vast professional experience in marketing, market research and consulting, working with clients and organizations across many industries and in multiple Latin American countries. She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Universidad Austral de Chile, a Master of Finance from Universidad de Chile, and a Certificate in Marketing from UC Berkeley. Outside of work she enjoys hiking, watching documentaries and volunteering.