A Global Chickpea Shortage Might Be on the Rise—Here's What You Can Do To Prepare

Lovers of chickpeas and hummus might need to start looking for alternatives soon.

Global supplies of chickpeas may decrease by as much as 20% this year due to harsh weather conditions impacting U.S. production as well as international war cutting off exports from Ukraine and Russia. If the shortage occurs, this will make it hard to shop not only for chickpeas, but also for products featuring chickpeas, like hummus and flour, as well as prepared soups, stews, curries and more.

While chickpeas have risen in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, they are an essential protein source in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, so a chickpea shortage could impact billions of people's diets around the world.

Why Is There a Chickpea Shortage?

The U.S. is the fourth largest exporter of chickpeas in the world. But due to extreme flooding this past spring, many farmers cut back on planting chickpeas and focused on more profitable crops like corn and wheat.

Additionally, Russia and Ukraine are the top exporters of chickpeas globally. But the ongoing war has reduced production and exports. There was limited seeding of chickpea crops, so about 50,000 metric tons of chickpeas that are normally grown in Ukraine are missing from from the market.

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Russia typically exports between 200,000 and 250,000 metric tons of chickpeas per year, Jeff Van Pevenage, chief executive officer of grain supplier Columbia Grain International, told Reuters. That's nearly a quarter of the global trade in the chickpea market. But since the war's start in February, the chickpea supply was "destroyed, totally," according to Van Pevenage.

Inflation is also causing major issues in shipping, especially in the U.S. Due to ocean vessels being backed up on the Pacific Coast, many grain merchants have resorted to shipping chickpea containers by railcar across the country, which substantially bumps up the price.

This includes Columbia Grain International: while the company usually exports chickpeas across the Pacific Northwest, they're now having to ship chickpeas by train, which is doubling shipping costs, Van Pevenage said.

How to Prepare for a Chickpea Shortage

We know that chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, and they are crucial for many popular recipes across the globe. But with this shortage potentially on the horizon, here are a few ways to prepare.

1. Stock Up on (but Don't Hoard) Canned Chickpeas

There's no need to panic-shop and clear the shelves, but stocking up on a few cans of chickpeas may be smart. Canned chickpeas have a long shelf life, plus they're versatile and work in many different dishes, including salads, soups, stews, chilis or even to just spread on toast.

Meal-prepping recipes like our Chopped Veggie Grain Bowls with Turmeric Dressing and Meal-Prep Roasted Vegetable Bowls with Pesto will help you prep for the week and get the most out of a single can of chickpeas.

2. Make Your Own Hummus or Alternative Dips

A chickpea shortage may lead to a hummus shortage, so try making it yourself if you can. We have several highly rated hummus recipes that will put your chickpeas to good use. From Garlic Hummus to Avocado Hummus and Roasted Beet Hummus, the chickpea-based dip is super versatile and can be adapted to meet your flavor preferences. Even our dessert Dark Chocolate Hummus is a delicious and creative way to use chickpeas.

You can also substitute other beans for chickpeas in your favorite hummus recipe, just be sure to adjust the liquid as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

If you're looking for a dip like hummus that doesn't include chickpeas, try our Roasted Cauliflower & Walnut Dip which has a similar texture to hummus but swaps out chickpeas for cauliflower and replaces tahini with walnuts.

3. Try Out Other Legumes and Beans

Chickpeas are not the only legume or bean that's a great source of protein, fiber and nutrients. Lentils, for example, have more protein and fiber than chickpeas. In a 1-cup serving, cooked chickpeas provide almost 11 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber whereas cooked lentils have 18 grams of protein and almost 16 grams of fiber. Some of our favorite recipes that star lentils include Lemony Lentil Salad with Feta and our Vegan Lentil Stew.

Other legumes like peas, kidney beans and black beans also make great high-protein, high-fiber alternatives. Recipes like our Kidney Bean & Kraut Toast and No-Cook Black Bean Salad are delicious ways to help meet your needs of these essential nutrients.

The Bottom Line

A chickpea shortage is not guaranteed, but with the decreased production and exports this season, it might be inevitable that prices rise and shelves are occasionally missing your favorite products. With our list of ways to prepare, you'll still be able to satisfy your chickpea fix and may even find new, delicious ways to get enough protein and fiber in your eating pattern.

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