DEMAND for meat-free food has led a manufacturer to invest in its factory and set its sights set on a £20 million turnover by 2021.

The Tofoo Co in Malton is increasing its factory capacity by 70 per cent with the installation of a new Soy Milk Cooker from Japan.

This will allow the company to boost turnover from £14 million per annum to almost £20 million by next year.

One in five (more than 13 million) Brits have reduced their meat consumption during the coronavirus pandemic, and the meat free category has seen strong growth.

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

After spending £3 million on the factory, the company has invested further in a new Soy Milk Cooker .

It was commissioned, assembled and shipped from Japan, and will generate an additional 50 tonnes of plain tofu per week at the factory.

David Knibbs, who is managing director of The Tofoo Co. said: “The arrival and installation of the new milk cooker marks a further £1 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 £1 million.

"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 per cent compared to two years ago, and its share in meat free is growing month on month."

The business, which is looking to recruit, has also been working on new product development, including its Sage & Onion Sizzlers which launched in April.

David 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."