Quebec has seen demand for tofu increase over the past month, leading to a shortage as producers struggle to keep up with demand.
Tofu producers across the eastern Canadian province are struggling to keep grocery stores stocked and Veganuary, a movement challenging people to eat a vegan diet during the first month of the new year, may be to blame.
Unisoya, Quebec’s largest tofu producer, told French-language newspaper La Presse that the company is overwhelmed by a 20% rise in demand for the soybean product.
According to CBC, sales of the soybean product skyrocketed from $22 million in 2013 to $38 million in 2017.
It is not clear just how much Quebec’s tofu shortage is due to Veganuary as Health Canada’s recent decision to recommend a plant-based diet as the best diet for health may have also played a role.
Quebec-based food journalist Allison Van Rassel told CBC that while people in the French-speaking province are eating more plant foods, the trend is not unique to that part of the world.
“This is a worldwide trend,” said Van Rassel. “Consumers are trying to replace meat with vegetable alternatives. What’s the easiest and most accessible food out there? Well, it’s tofu.”
Van Rassel admitted that while Quebec has a meat-loving culture, foods like tofu are healthier and better for the environment, also stating that meat is likely no longer the best source of protein.
The great news for Québécois who have found their grocery store aisles to be devoid of tofu is that despite Veganuary coming to an end, Unisoya says it plans to double production of tofu by the end of the year to keep up with demand.