History of Tofu and Tofu Products (965 CE to 2013)
William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-55-6
Publication Date: 2013 May 20
Number of References in Bibliography: 13,302
Earliest Reference: 965 CE
Brief chronology of tofu and tofu products.
965 CE – Tofu is first mentioned in China in a document, the Qing Yilu (Wade-Giles: Ch'ing I Lu) [Anecdotes, Simple and Exotic], by Tao Ku. It states: "In the daily market were several catties of doufu. People of the region called doufu the 'vice mayor's mutton.'" It goes on to tell the story of a vice mayor named Jishu, who was so poor that he couldn't afford to buy mutton. Instead he bought a few pieces of tofu every day and ate them as a side dish with rice. Soon people in the area came to call tofu the "vice mayor's mutton." The story implies that tofu was widely consumed in China in those days and that it was less expensive than mutton.
Note: The theory that tofu was invented by Lord Liu An of Huai-nan in about 164 BCE (early Han dynasty) has steadily lost favor among most scholars in China and abroad since the 1970s. The claim concerning Liu An was first made by Zhu Xi during the Song dynasty (960-1127 CE) – roughly 1,000 years after the supposed invention.
The theory that tofu-making is shown in a mural incised on a stone slab in Han Tomb No. 1, at Da-hu-ting, Mixian, Henan province attracted much attention after about 1990. Yet it too has lost favor because (1) no step of cooking the soy puree is shown in the mural, and (2) when Chinese food historians tried to make tofu without cooking the puree, the result was a tiny amount of unpalatable material.
1183 – Tofu is first mentioned in Japan in the diary of Hiroshige NAKAOMI, a Shinto priest of the Kasuga shrine at Nara; the tofu was used as an offering at the shrine's altar.
1457 – The word "tofu" is first written in Japan with the characters used today.
1603 – The word "tofu" is first mentioned in a European-language (Portuguese) document, Vocabulario da lingoa de Iapam... [Vocabulary of the language of Japan], the earliest dictionary of the Japanese language compiled by Europeans (Jesuits living in Nagasaki, Japan). Tofu is referred to as Cabe, Tôfu, or Taufu.
1613 – The word tofu is first referred to (though indirectly) for the second time by a Westerner, Captain John Saris, in the log of his trip to Japan. He wrote "Of Cheese [probably tofu] they haue plentie. Butter they make none, neither will they eate any Milke, because they hold it to bee as bloud [blood], nor tame beasts." This is the earliest English-language document that mentions tofu in connection with Japan.
1665 – Tofu is first mentioned specifically by a Westerner, Domingo Fernández de Navarrete, in his book A Collection of Voyages and Travels. Navarrete, who served as a Dominican missionary in China, wrote: "Before I proceed to the next chapter, because I forgot it in the first book, I will here briefly mention the most usual, common and cheap sort of food all China abounds in, and which all men in that empire eat, from the emperor to the meanest Chinese, the emperor and great men as a dainty, the common sort as necessary sustenance. It is call'd teu fu, that is, paste of kidney-beans. I did not see how they made it. They draw the milk out of the kidney-beans, and turning it, make great cakes of it like cheeses, as big as a large sieve, and five or six fingers thick. All the mass is as white as the very snow, to look to nothing can be finer. It is eaten raw, but generally boil'd and dressed with herbs, fish, and other things. Alone it is insipid, but very good so dressed and excellent fry'd in butter. They have it also dry'd and smok'd, and mix'd with caraway-seeds, which is best of all. It is incredible what vast quantities of it are consum'd in China, and very hard to conceive there should be such abundance of kidney-beans. That Chinese who has teu fu, herbs and rice, needs no other sustenance to work; and I think there is no body but has it, because they may have a pound (which is above twenty ounces) of it any where for a half-penny. It is a great help in case of want, and is good for carriage. It has one good quality, which is, that it causes the different airs and seasons, which in that vast region vary much, to make no alteration in the body, and therefore they that travel from one province to another make use of it. Teu fu is one of the most remarkable things in China, there are many will leave pullets for it. If I am not deceiv'd, the Chineses of Manila [Philippines] make it, but no European eats it, which is perhaps because they have not tasted it, no more than they do fritters fry'd in oil of Ajonjoli ([sesame seed] a very small seed they have in Spain and India, which we have not) which the Chineses make in that city and is an extraordinary dainty."
1704 – Friar Domingo Navarrete's book is published in English. This is the earliest English-language document that mentions tofu in connection with China.
1770 Jan. 3 – James Flint in Capringe writes Benjamin Franklin in London (in response to an inquiry from Franklin) a detailed description of how the "Chinese convert Callivances into Towfu" (soybeans into tofu).
1770 Jan. 11 – The earliest document seen in which an American mentions tofu is a letter written by the famous Benjamin Franklin (who was in London) to John Bartram in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He sent Bartram some soybeans (which he called "Chinese caravances") and with them he sent "Father Navarrete's account of the universal use of a cheese made of them in China, which so excited my curiosity, that I caused enquiry to be made of Mr. [James] Flint, who lived many years there, in what manner the cheese was made, and I send you his answer. I have since learned that some runnings of salt (I suppose runnet) is put into water, when the meal is in it, to turn it to curds."
1821 – The second earliest reference seen to tofu in America, and the first to be published in the USA, appeared when A.F.M. Willich of Philadelphia mentioned it in The Domestic Encyclopedia. Speaking of soybeans (which he called "the seeds of the Chinese plant Dolichos soja"), he writes: These seeds are used in China and Japan as food; they are made into a kind of jelly or curd, which is esteemed very nutritious, and which is rendered palatable by seasonings of different kinds."
1870 Dec. – The term "Bean curd" is first used by Emil V. Bretschneider, writing in English in the Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal (Foochow, p. 173). He says: "Bean-curd is one of the most important articles of food in China." Then he gives an accurate description of how it was made.
1880 – Tofu is first made in Europe by Paillieux, in France, for the Society for Acclimatization (but not on a commercial scale).
1878 – The earliest tofu company in the USA, Wo Sing & Co., is in business at 708½ Dupont St. in San Francisco, making both fermented and regular tofu.
1896 June – Tofu first appears in print in an American scientific journal (American Journal of Pharmacy), in an article by Henry Trimble, a pharmacist, titled "Recent Literature on the Soja Bean."
1905 – Five tofu shops are now owned and operated by Japanese in the United States: (1) Minato-ya, 24½ Quincy St., San Francisco, California. (2) Murata-ten ( Renamed Murata Tofu-ya by 1906), P.O. Box 51, Isleton, California. (3) Nishi Tofu-ya, 87 Japanese Alley, Sacramento, California. (4) Okumura Kuraoka Tofu-ya [Tofu Shop] (Renamed Okumura Tofu-ya by 1906), 632 N. 6th St., San Jose, California. (5) Ichino Tofu-ya / Shintaro Kodama, 446 Jackson St., Los Angeles, California. Note that all are located in California. (Source: Zaibei Nippon-jin Nenkan) (The Japanese-American Yearbook. 1905).
The first Japanese tofu shop in Washington State was in operation by 1906 (in Seattle); in Utah by 1907 (Ogden); in Nevada by 1908 (Reno); in New York by 1911 (Brooklyn, NYC), and in Idaho by 1913 (Sugar City). Thus, almost all of the earliest known tofu shops in the United States were started by people of Japanese ancestry - most of them in small communities in California, Oregon and Washington.
By 1910 at least 61 Japanese tofu shops had been established in the USA, by 1920 at least 166, by 1930 at least 293, by 1940 at least 392, and by 1950 at least 425.
1906 – Quong Hop & Co. starts making tofu in San Francisco, California. Until Sept. 2010, when it declared bankruptcy, Quong Hop was the oldest existing Chinese-American tofu manufacturer in the USA.
1910 – Europe's first commercial soyfoods manufacturer, named Caséo-Sojaïne, is founded by Li Yu-ying, a Chinese citizen, biologist and engineer, at 46-48 Rue Denis Papin, Les Vallées, Colombes (near Asnières), a few miles northwest of Paris. By June 1911 he was making and selling tofu, and by August 1911 he had added smoked tofu, pressed tofu sheets, fermented tofu cheese (in Gruyere, Roquefort, and Camembert flavors), and soymilk.
1911 – Ohta Tofu-ten (Ota Tofu Shop) is now making tofu at 266 Davis St., Portland, Oregon. As of 2013 Ota Family Tofu is still making tofu in Portland, Oregon, making it the oldest existing tofu maker in the United States.
1923 – The two 2nd oldest existing Japanese-American tofu companies (House Foods & Yamauchi Inc. of Los Angeles and Aala Tofu Co. of Honolulu) are founded in Hawaii. They both began as H. Iwanaga Daufu at 1031 Aala St. in Honolulu. In 1926 the company was renamed Shoshiro Kanehori Tofu, and in 1937 Haruko Uyeda Tofu, still at the same address. In about 1939 the company was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Shokin Yamauchi, who later renamed it Aala Tofu Co. Their son, Shoan Yamauchi, made tofu at the family company until 1946, when he went to Los Angeles, purchased the Hinode Tofu Co., and began making tofu there in 1947. After becoming Matsuda-Hinode Tofu Co. in 1963, the company was renamed House Foods & Yamauchi Inc. in 1983.
1929 Nov. – T.A. Van Gundy, a Seventh-day Adventist and founder of La Sierra Industries in Arlington, California (near Riverside), becomes the first Westerner to make tofu commercially when he introduces La Sierra Soya Cheese. This tofu was canned and pimiento was added to prevent graying after canning.
1930 – Azumaya Tofu Seizo-sho (later renamed Azumaya Co.) starts making tofu, yaki-dofu (grilled tofu), and ganmodoki (fried tofu patties) in San Francisco at 1636 Post St. between Buchanan and Laguna streets. The company is owned by Mr. Teranishi, who may have started it as early as the early 1920s. In Feb. 1937 it was sold to George and Jack Mizono, and their mother and father (Saichi Mizono).
1932 Dec. – Madison Foods, part of Madison College in Madison, Tennessee, is making Soy Cheese, then by 1939 they had launched Cheze-O-Soy (seasoned tofu), and by 1940 they were making a canned tofu bologna named Yum.
1934 – By this year Loma Linda Food Co. (Adventist) in Loma Linda, California, is making Loma Linda Vege-Cheese (canned tofu with pimiento).
1939 – Paris Tofu, founded by Joe Gon Fung, starts making tofu at 237 Powell St., Vancouver, BC, Canada. In 1957 the name was changed to Sunrise Market Ltd. and Leslie Joe became the owner.
1942 Sept. – Dr. Harry Miller, a Seventh-day Adventist doctor who had worked for many years in China as a medical missionary, begins making Miller's Soya Cheese (tofu) at Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
1944 Sept. – Butler Food Co. in Cedar Lake, Michigan, introduces Butler's Soynut Cheese. Note that the first five Caucasian-run tofu companies in the Western World were all founded and run by Seventh-day Adventists. Note also that each of these five Seventh-day Adventist tofu products used the word "cheese" in the name and that each was canned.
1957 Aug. – Shizuka Hayashi, head of the Japanese-American Soybean Institute in Tokyo, publishes (in Soybean Digest) the earliest English-language statistics on tofu in Japan. "There are approximately 45,000 tofu manufacturers in Japan, of which about 23,000 are members of the Tofu Association. There is one large factory in Osaka, the largest in Japan, which consumes 2 tons of soybeans a day." In 1957 Japan will use somewhere between 160,000 and 308,000 tons of soybeans to make tofu.
1958 – The world's first packaged tofu is sold in Los Angeles, California, by Matsuda Hinode Tofu Co. Mr. Shoan Yamauchi, owner, conceived of the idea of putting individual cakes of tofu each in a plastic bag with water, sealing the bag with a heat sealer, placing the bag in a stiff paper deli carton with a wire handle, then folding over the top. The process was labor intensive. This happened at about the same time that a letter from journalist George Yoshinaga had led the city to pass a new regulation requiring tofu to be packaged in individual containers.
1958 – Tofu is first sold in a U.S. supermarket, Boys Markets, a supermarket chain which had about 12 stores at the time in Los Angeles. The tofu was sold in individual packages (see above) and made by Matsuda Hinode Tofu Co., whose owner, Mr. Shoan Yamauchi was responsible for this major innovation, and for seeing the mainstream potential of tofu.
1965 – The Library of Congress establishes the subject heading "Tofu" as the official name for that food in cataloging books for libraries across America. However, in the mid-1970's disputes arose there about the proper form of Romanization of that term. The dispute was resolved by the decision to use the common English term "Bean Curd" instead.
1966 – Tofu is first packaged in plastic trays/tubs, the type so widely used today. Again, Mr. Shoan Yamauchi conceived of the idea. He went to the Sealright Company in Los Angeles that made Sealright trays and asked them to make a waterproof plastic tray for his tofu. Mr. Yamauchi created three specific early innovations in tray packaging: (1) A very deep tray, holding 26-28 ounces; (2) A method for heat sealing a plastic film to the flange of a tray which had cold water flooding over the flange; (3) High-speed sealing machines to pack and seal the tofu in his plant.
1975 March – Alec Evans, owner of first of the new breed of Caucasian-run tofu shops, starts to make "Tofu" in Corvallis, Oregon. His Welcome Home Bakery and Tofu Shop is the sixth Caucasian-run tofu company in America.
1975 Dec. – The Book of Tofu, by Shurtleff and Aoyagi, is published by Autumn Press. This book, which had sold more than 618,000 copies in English-language editions by April 2013, played a major role in introducing tofu to the Western World. Tofu came to the Western world from 1975 on as part of a new wave of interest in vegetarianism.
1976 Jan. – Swan Gardens starts making tofu in St. Ingatius, Montana. Founded by Dick & Jocelyn McIntyre. In 1979 they moved the company to Miami, Florida.
1976 Aug. – Larry Needleman introduces The Learning Tree Tofu Kit (Bodega, California).
1976 Sept. – Farm Food Company starts making tofu as part of their Soy Deli at 820 B. St., San Rafael, California. Robert Dolgin and David Sandler are key figures.
1976 Nov. – Island Spring, Inc. begins making tofu on Vashon Island, Washington state, founded by partners Lukoskie and Sylvia Nogaki.
1977 Jan. – Laughing Grasshopper Tofu Shop starts making tofu in Millers Falls, Massachusetts, founded by Richard Leviton and Kathy Whelan. In Feb. Tom Timmins joined as a partner and by August of that year so did Michael Cohen. In Nov. 1977 Laughing Grasshopper moved to Greenfield, Massachusetts, was renamed New England Soy Dairy, and before long was the largest of the new wave of tofu makers in the United States.
1977 Jan. – The Soy Plant (a worker-owned collective) starts making tofu in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Steve Fiering is a key figure.
1977 March to Oct. – Bean Machines, Inc. (BMI) is established by Larry Needleman with headquarters in northern California. Initially, BMI Orders most of its equipment from Takai Tofu & Soymilk Equipment Co. in Kanazawa, Japan. New tofu companies can order specialized tofu equipment they need from BMI.
1977 May – Flying Cloud Tofu (later renamed The Tofu Shop, then Northern Soy) starts making tofu in Rochester, New York. Greg Weaver, Greg Mello, and Andy Schecter are key figures.
1977 July – The Tofu Shop starts making tofu in Telluride, Colorado. In 1980 Matthew Schmit moves this tofu shop and soy deli to Arcata, California.
1977 Aug. – Takai Tofu & Soymilk Equipment Co. publishes its first English-language equipment catalog, which helps many American and European tofu shops to get started. Most order their equipment through Bean Machines, Inc.
1977 Sept. – White Wave, founded by Steve Demos, starts making tofu at 1738 Pearl St., Boulder, Colorado.
1977 – Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. in Japan introduces the world's first aseptically packaged tofu in a Tetra Brik carton (see U.S. Patent No. 4,000,326 of 28 Dec. 1976). It is named "Morinaga brand Tofu. Soybean Curd." In 1978 the name was changed to "Morinaga brand Ever-Fresh Silken Tofu." In 1981 the product was first imported into the United States.
1977 – Swan Foods Corporation, owned by Robert Brooks and Mary Pung, starts making "Tofu – Organic" at The Soybeanery, 5758½ Bird Rd., Miami, Florida. This is the first tofu in the Western World labeled "Organic." Swan Foods is also the first American company to make a wide variety of soyfoods, and the second to open a soy deli – which had a take-out menu.
1978 Feb. – Victor Food Products, Ltd. starts making tofu in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. Founded by Stephen Yu, it soon becomes the biggest tofu maker in Canada.
1978 April – Nasoya Foods, founded by John Paino and Bob Bergwall, starts making Nasoya Organic Tofu (water pack) at Mechanic Street Exit, Leominster, Massachusetts.
1978 July 30 – Soycrafters Association of North America (SANA) is founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Approximately 70 people attend the foundation meeting, organized and hosted by The Soy Plant, incl. Jerry MacKinnon and Steve Fiering. Larry Needleman (of Bean Machines, California) is elected director and six other people are elected to the steering committee.
1978 Dec. – The Book of Tofu, by Shurtleff and Aoyagi, is published by Ballantine Books in a mass-market edition that retails for $2.95. As of April 2013 it is still in print.
1979 July – Tofu & Soymilk Production, by Shurtleff and Aoyagi, is published by Soyfoods Center in Lafayette, California. This craft and technical manual, with hundreds of line drawings by Aoyagi, is used to start hundreds of tofu manufacturing companies throughout the Western World and in some Third World countries.
1979 April – Tofu is first made in Australia by The Soy Bean Factory in Surry Hills, New South Wales. Other early tofu makers in Australia include the following. The notation 1981/01 means January 1981:
Homeland Foundation 1981/01; Sin Ma Trading Co. 1981/11; Protein City 1981/12; Vegetable Protein Co. 1981/12; Blissquick (Natural) Food Products 1981; Soyfoods Australia (renamed Nutrisoy, Pty Ltd., by 1987) 1982/02; Blue Lotus Foods 1982; Chung Hing Bean Curd Manufacturing 1982/09; Earth Angel Soyfoods 1982/09; Hong Oriental Food 1982/09; Tofu Shop 1982/09; Chinese Farmhouse Tofu 1983/06; Jon Weekes Tofu 1983/06; Soycraft 1984/01.
1980 Aug. – Wildwood Natural Foods starts making nigari tofu in Fairfax, California. The company name originated in 1978 when Chris Smith started making Brown Rice & Tofu Sandwiches at The Sleeping Lady Café (worker owned and operated) in Fairfax – using tofu purchased from Quong Hop & Co. in San Francisco. The Brown Rice & Tofu Sandwich was first made in Nov. 1977 in Fairfax by Paul Duchesne, who called it Fried Rice & Tofu Sandwich, had no company name, and also bought his tofu from Quong Hop & Co. The four original partners in 1980 are Bill Bramblett, Frank Rosenmayr, Paul Orbuch and Paul Duchesne.
1980 Oct. – Tofu is first made in New Zealand by Harvest Wholefoods in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand. Other early tofu makers in New Zealand include the following. The notation 1980/11 means November 1980:
John Francis Tofu 1980/11; Sun Hing Foods Co. 1981; Jon Judson Tofu 1982/01; SoySource Tofu Shop 1982/10; Super Bean Foods (renamed The Soy Works in 1986) 1983/02; Bean Supreme Soyfoods 1984/04.
1981 Sept. – Legume, a marketing company in Verona, New Jersey, founded by Gary and Chandri Barat, starts selling Tofu Lasagna and Tofu Ravioli (both dairy free), America’s first two frozen tofu entrees. By 1983 Legume is soaring, advertising their delectable products creatively and widely, and introducing tofu to millions of new people in a new format.
1982 April – There are 242 tofu manufacturers in the Western world, including 173 in the United States.
1982 June – SOY starts making and selling tofu at Cerny 945 km south of Paris), France, founded by Bernard Storup and Jean de Preneuf. They soon become the largest tofu manufacturer in France, later being renamed Nutrition et Santé (1 Aug. 1994), Nutrition & Soja, and Nutrition & Nature.
1983 Feb. - A tofu mini-boom is now underway in Europe, reminiscent of that which started in the USA in 1977-78. Countries with the earliest tofu makers in Europe are listed first:
France: Usine de la Caséo-Sojaine (run by Li Yu-ying) 1911/06; Two or three tofu shops in and around Paris, including 1-2 at Colombes 1964/03. Alimentation Japonais Osaka 1972; Le Bol en Bois 1975/12; La Rousselie 1978/02; Institut Tenryu 1981/01; SOY (Société Soy) 1982/06; Les Sept Marches 1982/09; Sojatour Tofu Shop 1982/09; Ets. Co-Lu 1983/06; Lagadec Tofu 1983/06; Soja d'Oc 1983/10; Nyingma Dzong 1983/11; Tofu Kuehn 1983?; Sojagral Ouest 1984/12.
Netherlands: Vanka-Kawat 1958; FA. L.I. Frank: Frank Soya 1959?; Heuschen B.V. 1964; Firma Post & Teekman 1965; Stichting Natuurvoeding Amsterdam (renamed Manna Natuurvoeding B.V. in 1982) 1977/09; Hwergelmir: Foundation for a Natural Life 1979/07; Firma Ergepe 1981/01; Stichting Oost West Centrum 1981/01; Michel Horemaus Tofu 1981/01; Witte Wonder Products 1981/04; De Morgenstond 1981/12; Soy-Lin or F.M. Lin 1982/09. Jakso: Center for Agriculture & Craftsmanship (later called Yakso) 1983/06; De Vuurdoop 1983/07.
England, UK: Dragon & Phoenix Co. 1966; Wong Chung 1975 or before; Lung Kee 1975 or before; Full of Beans Wholefoods 1978/08; Paul's Tofu & Tempeh 1981/01; Yu's Tofu Shop 1981/01; Cauldron Foods Ltd. 1981/09; The Regular Tofu Co. Ltd. 1981/12; Bean Machine (Wales) 1982; Hong Kong Supermarket 1982/09; Stewart Batchelder Tofu 1983/06.
Belgium: Etablissements Takanami (Takanami Tofu Shop) 1976; Jonathan P.V.B.A. 1977/01; De Brandnetel 1979/07; Unimave Tofu 1980; Aversano Tofu Shop 1981/01; Alternatur 1981/01; Seven Arrows Tofu 1982/04, 1983/10; Vajra 1983/11.
Switzerland: La Moisson 1978; Le Grain d'Or 1981/01; Genossenschaft Sojalade (later renamed Genossenschaftstofurei) 1981/09; Soyana 1982/02; Soy Joy 1982/04; Restaurant Sesam 1982/04; Opplinger Tofu 1982/09; Natural Products Promo Carouge 1982/09; Joya 1982/09; Centre Macrobiotique de Lausanne 1982; Osoja: La Maison du Tofu (later renamed Tofushop Centanin SA) 1983; Tofurei Pfannenstiel 1983/11; Thieu's Soja Spezialitaet 1983/11; Conserves Estavayer S.A. (Sold at Migros Supermarkets) 1984/06; Galactina Ltd. 1984/11; Berner Tofurei 1984?
Italy: Roland A. di Centa 1978; Gilberto Bianchini of Centro Macrobiotico ed Alimentazione Organica (Community Food). Renamed Centro Macrobiotico Tofu 1978/11; Ohnichi Intl. Foods Co. Lotizzazione Industries 1982/09; Circolo L'Aratro 1982/09; C.D.S. Pianetta Terra Soc. Coop. A.R.L.
1982/12; Aldo Fortis Tofu 1983/06; Fondazione Est-Ouest 1983/06.
Germany: Svadesha Pflanzen-Feinkost 1979; Alexander's Tofu Shop [Nabben] 1981/01; Biogarten 1981/01; Auenland Tofu & Soja Produkte 1982/03; Tofuhaus Belsen (renamed Yamato Tofuhaus Sojaprodukte in Jan. 1984) 1982/07; Thomas Karas und Ingeborg Taschen (associated with Bittersuess;
renamed Soyastern Naturkost GmbH in Dec. 1985) 1982/11; Albert Hess Tofuhaus Rittersheim (Later in Tiefenthal) 1983/07; Tofukost-Werk TKW GmbH 1984/05; Christian Nagel Tofumanufaktur 1984/08; Sojatopf (renamed Soto in April 1989) 1984/09.
Austria: Weg der Natur 1980/05; Tofurei Wels (renamed Schoen Tofurei in 1987) 1982; SoyVita Austria 1983/05; Taiwan Restaurant 1983/06; Walter Brunnader Tofu 1983/06; Soyarei – Erich Wallner Tofu 1983/06; Tofurei Ebner 1983/11; Soyarei Wallner Ebner 1984/02; Fernkost Markt Nippon Ya Kondo GmbH 1984/02; Naturkostladen 1984/02; Sojarei Ebner-Prosl 1984/04; Sojvita Produktions GmbH 1984/06.
Sweden: Aros Sojaprodukter 1981/02.
Denmark: Tofu Denmark (Soy Joy?)
1982/03; Dansk Tofu 1983/06.
Portugal: Unimave Tofu 1980; Shogun
Produtos Aliment. 1982/09; Jose Parracho Tofu 1982/09; Próvida Lda. 1984.
Spain: Zuaitzo 1984/03.
1985 June – The Library of Congress decides to change its subject heading from "Bean curd" back to "Tofu." This, perhaps more than any other single thing, makes the word tofu "official."
1983 – House Food Industrial Co., Ltd. of Japan purchases 50% ownership in Yamauchi Enterprises (formerly Hinode Tofu Co., owned by Mr. Shoan Yamauchi) in Los Angeles. The company is renamed House Foods & Yamauchi, Inc.
1985 Sept. – Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Japan's leading manufacturer of dairy products, announces the creation of a U.S. subsidiary, Morinaga Nutritional Foods. The new company, headquartered in Los Angeles, will market Mori-Nu brand tofu in the United States. With worldwide sales of $1,300 million, Morinaga today markets tofu in more than 30 countries.
1989 Dec. – Sixty-five books (each more than 48 pages long) on tofu have been published in the Western World since 1970. Each one has the word "tofu" or its equivalent in the title. Forty of these books were published in the United States, 6 in Canada, 5 in Switzerland, 5 in Japan (but written in English for sale primarily outside of Japan), 3 in West Germany, 3 in France (but 2 of these were published simultaneously and primarily in Quebec, Canada), 2 in England, and 1 each in Italy, Sweden, and Brazil.
1990 Aug. 3 – Hong Kong Soya Bean Products Co. Ltd. (makers of Vitasoy) acquires Nasoya Foods of Leominster, Massachusetts.
1993 June – Vitasoy purchases Azumaya Inc. (America's largest tofu manufacturer, and the low-price leader) in California for an estimated $4 to $5 million.
1993 – House Foods Corp. of Japan purchases the remaining 50% of House Foods & Yamauchi, Inc. from Mr. Shoan Yamauchi. The new company is renamed House Foods America Corporation.
1995 June – Pulmuone U.S.A., Inc. (pronounced PUL-mu-wun), a subsidiary of Pulmuone Co., Ltd., the largest manufacturer of tofu and of natural foods in Korea, starts making tofu (Firm, Soft, and Extra Soft) in South Gate, California. They focus on marketing their tofu to Korean-Americans, use Korean characters on their labels, and soon capture much of this market. By 12 June 1997 Pulmuone is making 20,000 pounds of tofu per day.
1997 March 12 – House Foods America Corporation holds the opening ceremony for America's largest tofu factory, in Garden Grove, California; the company soon closes its tofu plant in central Los Angeles.
1998 – Nature Soy, Inc. (Datian Doupin Chang) starts making tofu and tofu products in Philadelphia. It grew out of an earlier company, Sunkee Tofu Co., started in 1990 in Philadelphia by Wen Yatsun (Gene He 2013).
1999 Oct. 26 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes a health claim stating that consumption of 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving, as a part of a healthy diet, low in saturated fats and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. This claim soon appears on the front of many products that meet these requirements. It leads to the creation of many new soy products and generates major public interest in soyfoods
2002 May – Pulmuone’s tofu plant in Tappan, New York, starts operations – located in an existing older building.
2003 Aug. – Pulmuone’s tofu plant in Fullerton, California, starts operations in an existing new building. Shortly thereafter their tofu plant in South Gate, California, is closed.
2004 April 19 – Wildwood Natural Foods, Inc. (formerly known as Wildwood Harvest Foods, Inc.) enters into a strategic alliance with Pulmuone U.S.A., Inc. Pulmuone purchases shares of Wildwood stock and ends up owning a controlling interest – more than 50% of the shares. In May 2004 Pulmuone takes the principals of Wildwood to Seoul, Korea, for 4-5 days to celebrate the Pulmuone’s (the parent company’s) 25th anniversary. On 16 Dec. 2004 Pulmuone USA acquires the remaining shares of Wildwood and the merged company resolves to use a fictitious name – PMO Wildwood – which was later adopted as the corporate name on 6 Oct. 2005, and then changed to Pulmuone Wildwood on 1 Dec. 2005.
2009 Aug. – Hodo Soy Beanery starts making soyfoods (mostly tofu and yuba) in Oakland, California. Founded as Basic Soy Beanery in May 2004 by Minh Tsai and close relatives, the company was renamed Hodo Soy Beanery in Sept. 2005.