The Japan Tofu Association is Japan's representative body of all domestic tofu producers.
In recent years, the use of Japanese condiments such as “miso” and “shoyu” has increased around the world. The word “miso”, otherwise known as “bean paste”, has become common knowledge while “shoyu” is generally known as “soy” or “soy sauce”.
Tofu goes global
In much the same way, the use of “tofu” has increased in America and Europe and the word “tofu” is now a universal term.
The reason for the increased popularity of tofu in Europe and America is the high profile it has gained as a health food. In particular, America has a past history of increases in lifestyle related diseases such as obesity, hardening of the arteries, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, etc, due to high meat consumption. In order to counter these increases, improvements in eating habits were needed. In the latter half of the 1970s, the U.S. Senate reported that “Japanese food was a good model in terms of a healthy diet”. This triggered a boom in Japanese cuisine in America.
Of all the Japanese foods, tofu was the one most accepted by the people of Europe and the United States. This is probably because the lack of strong flavors in tofu made it easier to incorporate into existing cuisine.
In the beginning, tofu was the food of choice for vegetarians and environment-conscious people. However, as American awareness of health issues grew, awareness of tofu also grew, and demand gradually increased.
Nevertheless, at this stage, tofu was still a special dish reserved for restaurant tables. This all changed following the publication of “The Book of Tofu”. This book provides an in depth description of tofu and a variety of tofu recipes. Once this book had established itself as a bestseller, the majority of supermarkets began stocking tofu.
Tofu is now a global food.