A NORTH Yorkshire food manufacturer has launched the UK’s first frozen tofu after enjoying its most successful trading year.

The Tofoo Co. Ltd's turnover in 2020 was £14.7 million, an 89 per cent year-on-year increase and a significant contrast to its first year of trading in 2016, when Dave Knibbs and Lydia Smith acquired the business when turnover was £600,000.

The tofu manufacturer is now the third largest brand in the chilled meat-free market, and more than one million households are now buying The Tofoo Co.’s products regularly.

Its Naked block is the best-selling ingredient in the whole of the chilled meat-free category.

To mark Veganuary this month, the company is launched Tofoo Chunkies for the frozen sector. 

The firm has ambitious growth plans, expecting to increase turnover to £20 million by the end of 2021 following an investment in staff and resources.

David Knibbs, managing director, said: “In the last four years we’ve been on a mission to share with consumers the incredible ingredient that is tofu.

“Consumers have fallen in love with our products and as a result, January 2020 was the start of a very successful year, when the brand turned over a record £1 million in just one month. Throughout the year we’ve surpassed this total and in November 2020, celebrated sales of £1.4 million.

“This Veganuary we’re planning to replicate the same success we’ve experienced in the chilled sector, in the frozen category by launching Tofoo Chunkies.

"Our entry into this market is part of our quest to make tofu more accessible. We know from research that this crispy format makes consumers really think differently about tofu – its taste, texture and how to use it. As a product it really overcomes some of the barriers to trial and shows how truly versatile tofu can be.”

2020 saw significant growth in a market that offers consumers an alternative protein source to meat.

The Tofoo Co's 'bean to block' guarantee means that all soya beans are organic, GM Free, and are obtained from a sustainable source.

David added: “The requirement to be sustainable in all areas of society is very real and every generation is recognising this.

"The Tofoo Co.’s success in part is due to the fact that, not only do consumers enjoy our great tasting products, they appreciate the soy we use is grown and harvested in a sustainable way.

“We’re noticing an ever-increasing shift towards ethical consumption as people become more aware of the food choices they make.

“Fresh meat substitutes is the fastest-growing food category and third fastest growing FMCG category behind hand sanitiser and first aid. This demonstrates a real change in people’s eating habits - consumers are now looking beyond meat for protein.

"Tofoo is not a meat substitute; it’s made with only three ingredients and provides people with a great source of protein. It can be incorporated into a healthy, natural diet. As an ingredient in its own right, it’s extremely versatile, allowing experimentation with flavours and cuisines in the kitchen.”

The Tofoo Co. now employs 110 local people in Malton and increased its factory capacity in 2020 by 70 per cent, with the installation of a new soy milk cooker. Its core product, the Naked block, is stocked in Tescos, Co-op, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s stores.