Tribe All-Natural Hummus

On a recent trip to Costco, I found a package of Tribe Hummus Snacker Packs and I thought they would be great for tossing into the boy’s Easy Lunchboxes (a great “prepackaged” 100-calorie pack! Just toss in some carrots or other raw veggies and there you have it! 😉 ).  A box of 16 individual snack packs cost just under $6.00!  I read the ingredient label and could noticed that there were no gluten containing ingredients but the gluten-free label that used to be on packages of Tribe Hummus had vanished from the package.  I went ahead and bought it but decided to contact the company to inquire about the GF status before I presumed it was okay.  The simple removal of a gluten-free label that was once on a package can easily make one believe that the product is no longer safe to consume.

I emailed Tribe and received the following reply:

March 30, 2010

Hello Heidi,

Thank you for your interest in Tribe products.
Just wanted to let you know regarding your question,
“all” our hummus flavors are “Gluten Free.” Hope this
eases your mind.

I am sending you some money saving coupons toward your
next purchase. Enjoy!


Peg Volpe

Consumer Affairs Specialist

A week or so after I received the email confirming that Tribe Hummus is still gluten-free, I received a letter and coupons (thank you Tribe!) further explaining why the gluten-free label is no longer on their packaging:

In case you have trouble reading the letter:

June 5th, 2009

To Our Valued Customers,

We recently removed the phrase “gluten free” from our packaging.” Our marketing department continually revises the claims and information on our packaging to keep with current trends and to provide our customers with the information we feel is most pertinent.

Nothing has changed in Tribes process or ingredients; hummus is inherently a gluten-free food, and Tribe will continue testing to ensure such.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Jesse Norris, Quality Control Manager

Tribe Mediterranean Food Inc.

774-961-0000 x 117

They must not have known that gluten-free foods would be one of the hottest trends of 2010! In fact, it was rated as #3 back in January by The Daily Beast.

Is it just me (assuming you have been at this for awhile too), or did we just become part of the “cool kids?” 😀

14 Responses

  1. Those look like an awesome treat for lunches! And yeah, it’s funny how us gluten-free-ers are now the cool kids. Except unfortunately, it sometimes dilutes those with REAL issues, as so many go gluten-free just because they believe it’s healthier. But I’m glad for as much awareness as possible!

    • Alta,

      You are so right, I am really hoping that with Gluten-Free Awareness month quickly approaching, people will find some great and accurate information to better understand those of us with “real” issues. Maybe even discover their own hidden “real” issues. Afterall, 97% of people with celiac disease still do not know it and that is an alarming number.

      A simple blood test (I even strongly encourage a biopsy, even though they are not a lot of “fun”), can uncover a potentially life threatening disease, where a permanent change in diet can make all the difference in good health… for life.

      I can’t help but wonder, if more people get accurately diagnosed, what that will do for our community in the long term… more research funding, better labeling laws, ensuring this gluten-free “trend” is not a temporary “fad diet,” (like some have tried to elude to), etc.

      I have hope. 😀

      • These comments read as if non allergy related followers is a bad thing. I definitely do not see it that way. The purpose of wanting the issue known is so that more GF products are available. At least in my books anyway. if there were a bigger demand for such products (allergy or otherwise) than it would not be considered a specialty item. That may help solve some of the availability problem. It is just maddening to me that they would bother putting wheat in items that should just be a whole food (like tomatoes).

        Seems to me that Tribe is suggesting that leaving Gluten Free on the packaging may suggest to regular gluten eating folks that it translates to mean that it tastes bad. They want the bigger market folks to buy their product.

  2. We so are the cool kids.

  3. Oh, snack sizes, very cool!

    Will have to check these out, thanks for sharing with us!

  4. You’re not going to believe this, but I just got back from Costco this morning, and I looked at this, and decided NOT to buy it since it didn’t say Gluten-Free. Now I wish I had, or had read this post before hand. Oh well. Next trip.

  5. Anne (Gluten Free Musings) was just on the celiac listserv asking about Tribe removing their gf status and if their hummus was still safe. I had just read your post so I forwarded it on. 🙂 One has to wonder if it was a case of Tribe taking off the gluten-free label because it was deterring purchases. That always makes me sad, but it is reality. The other point is many companies have removed the gluten-free label because there is no established FDA standard yet, so how can they say a product is gluten free, if there’s no definition. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Tribe since they didn’t mention it and they are naturally gf though.

    Other than all the packaging (and waste in that sense), these snack packs sound like a great, healthy option for kids’ lunches. 🙂

    Owe you an email …

  6. Shirley,

    Funny you mentioned “gluten-free” labeling deterring purchases. I use Chocoley Chocolate Candy Melts which are labeled “Celiac Safe” instead of “gluten-free.”

    When I spoke with the owner of the company, he told me that when they used the term “gluten-free” their sales dropped because it implied an ingredient had been removed that should have been in the the chocolate (not the case). Using the term “Celiac Safe” restored their sales! Chocoley’s chocolates are manufactured in a gluten-free facility.

    I really hope to see some long overdue movement with the FDA’s proposed standard for gluten-free labeling, hopefully the mass response to their recent questionnaire will speed things up! Did you get to take it?

  7. I haven’t tried these, but I’m going to look for them. Sometimes it’s just so nice to have prepackaged snacks available! I usually put my own hummus in my own little plastic bowls, and count my own crackers or chips into plastic snack bags, and cut and wrap my own cheese cubes, but when time is short, I’ll happily use something that’s ready to go!

  8. Pat,

    There are definite times when grab and go’s are really nice! 🙂

  9. Nice that they are GF! 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us all!

  10. We are absolutely the cool kids. We’re eating healthier than everyone else, by making simple changes, and loving it!! 🙂

  11. Todd…

    I’m so glad you are on the GF Team (well, other than the whole health issue thing…)!! 🙂

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