Looking to help consumers tackle the art of using bean curd products in their home kitchens, leading tofu brand Nasoya has launched Tofu U (nasoya.com/tofu-u).
The microsite's how-to features include an instructional shopping/preparation video series hosted by Rhodey Girl Tests blogger Sabrina Garibian, as well as a recipe search tool that lets users select the meal, ingredients, the desired tofu texture and a difficulty level to generate a customized recipe.
Users who register to take a "healthy living pledge" that calls for cooking with tofu once a week for a month receive a downloadable coupon, followed by more emailed coupons each week during the month. Those who fulfill the pledge are rewarded with a Nasoya Tofu U tee shirt or pair of gym shorts.
Users are also encouraged to join an e-club to share recipes and product ideas, play a "ToPlinko" game, and watch "ToPunked" videos showing fans pulling tofu-related pranks on friends.
The Tofu U area expands on information and features included in the brand's main site, including downloadable recipe booklets, a chat room and a humorous "real men eat tofu" video showing a grizzly looking guy demonstrating how to "skin and kill" tofu, add hummus and soy sauce, and cook it in a pan "sort of just like scrambled eggs."
Why the education push? While tofu continues to grow in popularity as an ingredient in restaurant offerings, Americans still tend to be intimidated by using these products at home, acknowledges Nasoya VP, marketing Susan Rolnick.
"It isn't a staple in American kitchens," Rolnick says. "When people learn where I work, I often hear, 'I bought some tofu once and it sat in my fridge until I threw it out. I just didn't know what to do with it.'"
Nasoya, founded by two entrepreneurs in Leominster, Mass. in 1978, was acquired by Vitasoy USA, Inc. in 1990. In addition to natural and organic tofu products, Super Hummus varieties, Asian-style pasta noodles and wraps, Silken Style Creations and Nayonaise sandwich spread, the brand recently launched TofuPlus, the first added-nutrient tofu line (fortified with vitamins, calcium, zinc and other nutrients that can be lacking in low-meat diets).