White Wave Set To Transform Tofu Market

United States

Soyfood pioneer White Wave is hoping to perform the same miracle on tofu as it did with soymilk—turn it into a mega mainstream product.

Soymilk was once consumed only by core health consumers, but in a few short years it has achieved mainstream acceptance in the US. This is in large part due to the aggressive marketing and smart product innovation of White Wave?s Silk soymilk brand.

White Wave has always done significant business in tofu and holds more than a quarter of the US tofu market. Its new range, TofuTown, seeks to give the food the image makeover founder and chief executive Steve Demos believes it needs if it is to reach a wider audience.

?Tofu has a reputation as being synonymous with health and with ?I don?t like that?. Our intent is to challenge those preconceptions,? he told The Denver Post. ?We?re trying to separate ourselves from the organic tofu business and put ourselves in the centre-of-the-plate entr?e business,? he added.

Lynea Schultz-Ela, founder of Texas-based natural products industry consultancy, A Natural Resource, said TofuTown would benefit from increased interest in soyfoods. ?There is a general movement toward soyfoods,? she observed. ?It?s sure to piggy back on the low-carb craze as this is an easily accessible product that is high-protein and has all the right amino acids.? She added: ?The mainstream perception of tofu is that it tastes horrible and has a terrible mouthfeel. Soymilk used to be the same way but now that?s completely changed.?

TofuTown will go on sale in health food stores this month before rolling out in supermarkets in mid-2004.

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