Tofu Giant Nasoya Brings Vegan Meals to US Colleges and Fast Casual Chains 

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Nasoya, the leading tofu brand in the US, is now making its foray into foodservice. For the first time, the brand will begin serving up vegan meals featuring its line of tofu and its Plantspired plant-based protein at college campuses and fast-casual eateries across the country. 

Nasoya is now getting into foodservice for the first time, launching at US college campuses and fast casual restaurants across the country. After decades of retailing its soy-based and tofu products at supermarkets, the brand says now is the “perfect time” to begin expanding its customer base via new channels. 

For decades, the company, a subsidiary of the South Korean tofu conglomerate Pulmone, has established itself as the leading tofu brand in the US. It is the top maker of tofu, as well as Asian-inspired food products, such as kimchi, noodle kits, dumplings, Asian-style wraps and skillets. 

Expansion into foodservice

Speaking about the brand’s expansion into foodservice, Nasoya marketing VP Sung Yoon Nam said: “This is the perfect time for our brand to reach consumers in new foodservice settings as interest in plant-based, healthy and sustainable eating continues to rise.”

“We expect that our work to bring Nasoya tofu and Plantspired into restaurants and collegiate dining programs will showcase how plant-based can deliciously fit into day-to-day life for everyone,” Sung added. 

One of the QSR chains that Nasoya will launch at is healthy bowl chain WaBa Grill, which will offer a flame-grilled Plantspired vegan steak with vegetables and grains across all 200 outlets it operates in California and Arizona. 

Colleges that are partnering to launch meals featuring Nasoya and Pulmuone tofu products include the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, the largest collegiate dining program in the country. More collaborations are underway with the University of Michigan, Virginia Tech and Yale University.

Plant-based demand

According to Nasoya, its foray into food service comes at the “perfect time” due to surging demand for vegan food in the US. Last year, retail sales of plant-based foods in the country doubled to $7 billion—and experts expect similar growth trajectories for dine-in channels as the economy reopens from the pandemic. 

Much of the demand has been driven by the mainstreaming of flexitarianism or part-time veganism, which make up as much as 42% of the global population. Consumers, far more aware of the sustainability and health impact of animal-based foods, are actively lowering their meat and dairy intake. 

Against this backdrop, Nasoya says that it expects its Plantspired range to see over 100% growth in 2022. Its latest launch at WaBa Grill has already helped increase sales of the chain by 5% within the first six weeks. 

“Collaborating with Nasoya to bring Plantspired Steak to our guests was a natural fit for us as we continue to build more menu innovation, especially in the increasingly popular plant-based and meat alternative category,” commented WaBa Grill CMO Mark Finnegan. 

Earlier this year, Nasoya’s parent company Pulmuone made clear its intention to tap into the plant-based meat trend. It launched its first plant-based alternatives line in South Korea, featuring over 20 products, including vegan chicken tenders, meal kits and dairy-free yogurt. 


All images courtesy of Nasoya.


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