Tofu: The Traditional Plant Protein and Soyfoods Superhero

Tofu: The Traditional Plant Protein and Soyfoods Superhero

April 25, 2017

Soymilk, energy bars, soy burgers -- these are just some options we see today when it comes to soyfoods at the market.  We’re eating more soy than ever before: according to the 23rd annual survey conducted by United Soybean Board, the consumption is up 14% between 2011 and 2016. But what about the original soyfoods superhero: tofu? It appeals to shoppers with varying nutrition interests:  those interested in high protein, focused on heart health, and seeking to eat plant-based meals more often. Over the years, tofu has made its way past traditional Asian cuisines and into mainstream diets, however 65% of Americans still don’t consume tofu.   Why not?  Taste and texture are the top two barriers we often see when it comes to consuming tofu.  

Consider these ways to engage your shoppers with tofu, and its accompanying benefits:

  • Showcase tofu during in-store food experiences.  A big misconception is tofu is bland or boring in taste. Because tofu takes on the flavors of whatever seasoning or sauce it’s paired with, during food demos show different ways to season it and types of flavorings with which tofu pairs well. 
  • Create videos highlighting various ways to cook tofu as the texture can be a bit intimidating.  Tofu can be coated and pan fried or deep fried for a crispy texture, grilled on the BBQ, or even blended into a smoothie.   In your video, showcase how its versatility makes it the perfect protein addition to any meal. Tofu can vary in texture, and selecting the right type is important. Check out some tips on choosing the right texture of tofu.
  • Offer meal kits featuring tofu as the protein source.  Shoppers are more aware than ever before about foods they are consuming, and the trends we see in plant protein continue to grow.  In 2016, consumers  that have discovered plant protein as a more healthful option are consuming 69% more compared to the previous year .  Tofu isn’t just a good source of plant protein, but also one of the few plant proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids needed in proportion to fuel our bodies.
  • Consider cross merchandising tofu in one of the following ways:
    • Pair tofu in displays with sauces such as Teriyaki, Sweet & Sour, BBQ, and Stir fry.
    • Showcase tofu with produce such as bagged stir-fry vegetables or BBQ veggies for grilled skewers.
    • Merchandise tofu with ground beef or turkey featuring a recipe for tofu newbies on how to sneak tofu into a meat dish by replacing half of the meat with tofu. 
    • Showcase tofu with fruits such as berries, pineapples, and bananas in a creamy smoothie recipe.

For more information to support your promotional efforts with tofu, explore House Food’s Dietitian’s Guide to Tofu, where you’ll find a variety of tools including 12 reasons to eat soyfoods, studies on soy, and a tofu calendar that can be incorporated into your program.  If you need materials (e.g. recipe booklets, coupons) for your program, contact