Quebec is experiencing a tofu shortage
Quebec is experiencing a tofu shortage.
Popularity of the pressed bean curd has been on the rise. Sales have increased by nearly 20 per cent each year for the last five years -- and the average Quebecer eats more tofu than in the rest of Canada.
"In fact, 26 per cent of Quebecers will eat tofu on a regular basis versus 16 per cent in the rest of Canada,” said Sylvain Charlebois, professor of food distribution and policy and Dalhousie University.
Demand for tofu has also seen a spike since Health Canada released its new Food Guide, emphasizing plant-based proteins.
“We had a spike in demand of the plain tofu and a lot of the people are now getting more educated, asking pertinent questions, asking around and wanting more to consume this healthy alternative,” said Nick Lup, manager of Supermarche PA.
In problem is local producers are having trouble keeping up with demand.
“There seems to be a shortage of tofu in the province of Quebec and Atlantic and some parts of Ontario right now,” said Charlebois.
Quebec's largest tofu producers, Unisoya and Soyarie, are struggling to meet demand.
Unisoya said it has stopped selling to big chains like Costco and Provigo until it can increase production.
“Grocery chains tend to demand a lot of product and they go after their vendors and usually they buy in bulk. When there are backorders, it'll effect several stores at once,” said Charlebois.
Tofu lovers need not panic though: both Unisoya and Soyarie are in the process of expanding their factories.
“It's actually good news if there are expansion projects going on in tofu,” said Charlebois. “It means that financiers in the tofu sector. Expect demand for tofu to increase over time.”
In the meantime, Lup said he doesn't think the shortage will affect PA grocery stores.
“We are having strong ties with our suppliers and we keep a good healthy relationship with them,” he said. “We still have them in stock and we're trying to keep it that way.”