Founder and MD, Hannah McCollum, talks about the challenges creating hummus from surplus and wonky vegetables.

ChicP creates a variety of healthy, unique hummus from surplus/excess and wonky (non-aesthetically pleasing) vegetables. Its mission is to educate people about living more sustainable lives and reducing food waste while also helping British farmers by using their excess and connecting them to other suppliers.

We talk to founder and MD, Hannah McCollum, to find out more...

What was the inspiration for the site/business?

The inspiration behind ChicP was the overriding determination and passion to change the way we approach cooking and food waste, while producing a healthier hummus to the market.

After having cooked for families in the UK and all over Europe, predominantly as a private chef, I would often convert the leftover Ottolenghi type salads into dips for the next meal. Nearly every day the question would be “what’s the dip of the day Hannah”?! I hate food waste and love hummus. Everyone loves hummus! I also witnessed huge amounts of food go to waste whilst working at events - no one seemed to care and I really wanted to do something about it.

I put the two and two together (hummus and food waste) and thus created ChicP.

When did you launch?

January 2016

What are your greatest challenges?

My first greatest challenge was my shelf life - having a chilled product is not easy.

The greatest challenges now are getting new listings with the larger retailers and trying to combat the problem that manufacturers can only accept ‘high care’ vegetables on to their facilities which is part of the problem more vegetables are going to waste on our farms.

What's your background?

I went to cookery school after University (a month only!) and carried on cooking and working for private clients on and off for years after. I still do this from time to time because I love it.
I stopped working in events at the age of twenty-two because I couldn’t stand how much waste there was (including packaging waste and lack of recycling) and I got a job at a private family business which was hugely interesting - I got stuck into a number of projects from film to restaurants and philanthropy. After a year and a half there I decided to start ChicP.

Who do you admire in business?

I admire Jamie Oliver for his passion, the empire he has built and the fantastic initiatives he has worked on to help children live a healthier life and inspire the nation to cook. His attitude to his restaurants closing has also been inspirational and he obviously been very affected.
I admire Thomasina Miers who started Wahaca and her constant work in sustainability.

Please recommend a website and / or app that helps you promote or run your business or that you simply couldn't live without.

Ocado?? There isn’t really any app or website that I couldn’t run my business without…

Do you have a favourite business podcast?

No and I need to have one - I am going to start listening to Venetia Falconer though. She has the same lifestyle ethos as I do!

Who is your favourite foodie instagrammer?

I love Food52, Anna Jones, Issy Croker and Izy Hossack.

What is the best piece of digital advice you've been given in regards to your showcasing/running your business online?

To try and keep a consistent image across Instagram - with a mix of lifestyle, branded product and recipes. The key is simplicity, colour and eye catching imagery and statements. I have tried to do this with my website and people say that’s why they love it!

What is your motto?

Eat better, Live better, Do better

Where do you see the business going from here?

We have a lot going on at the moment - new product launches, other than just hummus, which will increase our range in other categories. More listings, hopefully in some major retailers and on transport systems. Maybe (hopefully) franchising at some stage!

And a hummus bar… in London. It’s coming.

Have you put your company forward for an award before? If so, please let us know which one.

Yes- The YBFs, Great Taste and World Innovation Products in 2016 which we won.

September 2019