Food business invests to satisfy demand for meat free produce

Credit: Frank Dwyer

Meat-free food manufacturer The Tofoo Co is continuing to invest in the business, increasing its factory capacity by 70%.

The North Yorkshire-based firm is installing a new Soy Milk Cooker from Japan, which will allow the business to increase turnover from £14m per annum to almost £20m by 2021.

Since 2016 The Tofoo Co’s turnover has increased from £600,000 to £14m with 93 full time staff members, and demand has continued to grow throughout 2020.

After spending £3m on the factory, the company has invested further in the Soy Milk Cooker which was commissioned, assembled and shipped from Japan to generate an additional 50 tonnes of plain tofu per week.

David Knibbs, managing director of the business, said: “The arrival and installation of the new milk cooker marks a  further one million pound investment at the Tofoo factory.

“The new piece of equipment will support the business to increase its monthly turnover that currently sits at over £1m.

“We’re also expanding our operational output with packing hall machinery and pressing to ensure we have enough capacity to meet the anticipated high demand.

“Trends suggest that interest in trying tofu has increased, and with cafés and restaurants currently closed, people are experimenting more with what they can cook at home.

“The tofu category penetration is continuing to increase, up 40% compared to two years ago.

“It has also added over 500,000 households in one year, however there are currently 5.8 million households eating meat free who  aren’t trying tofu. The opportunity for growth within the sector is significant.”

The company is looking to continue meeting ongoing demand with a recruitment drive throughout the year, and new product development.

Knibbs added: “When we purchased the brand in 2016 it was only selling block tofu, but we’ve taken this basic concept and developed it further.

“It’s gratifying to see how much Tofoo has been embraced by consumers and how many people we’ve engaged who previously didn’t understand how to use tofu.

“It’s a versatile product which has been enjoyed in eastern diets for thousands of years and we want to encourage consumers to see it as a staple ingredient.”