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Tofu Goes Mainstream in America Thanks to Big Meat’s Covid Crisis

Sales of the soybean product jumped as U.S. consumers navigated poorly stocked meat aisles. Producers hope they’ll stick around.

Fresh tofu.

Fresh tofu.

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi


The coronavirus made American meatpacking plants even more dangerous than usual, with outbreaks forcing shutdowns that in turn led to producers euthanizing livestock. Consumers suddenly found themselves in empty meat aisles, searching for protein.

Enter tofu. Made from soybeans and little else, the plant-based protein has been increasing in popularity in the U.S. While a common purchase in much of the rest of the world and many American households, now even more shoppers are trying it.