Pulmuone's plant-based protein snack 'Tofu Bar' garners explosive popularity in Japan

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : February 7, 2024, 15:21 Updated : February 8, 2024, 09:09
Courtesy of Pulmuone
[Courtesy of Pulmuone]

SEOUL -- South Korea's food company Pulmuone has recorded 2.16 billion yen ($14.6 million) in sales of plant-based protein snack "Tofu Bar" in Japan in 2023, marking a 241 percent increase from 2021. An average of 80,000 units of the high-protein food are sold daily at some 30,000 convenience stores in Japan including 7-Eleven and FamilyMart.

The plant-based snack, which provides 10 grams (0.02 pounds) of protein per bar, was released in Japan in November 2020, through Pulmuone's Japanese subsidiary "Asahico." In 2021, the food with a chewy texture won the Best Hit Product Convenience Store Division Award from Nikkei Trend, a monthly business magazine in Japan.

Pulmuone said in a statement that annual sales of Tofu Bar have grown 3.4 times over the past two years, reaching 2.16 billion yen last year. As of January 2024, the product recorded cumulative sales of about 58 million units. Asahico aims to expand the monthly production capacity of Tofu Bars to 3 million from the current 2.18 million.

"We plan to further increase the sales proportion of Tofu Bar to over 30 percent of the total sales of Asahico through continuous development of new products tailored to local tastes and expansion of the product category," Asahico CEO Ikeda Mio said in a statement on February 7.

Pulmuone is also known for its vegan meat products such as plant-based steak. The food maker reported 43 billion won ($32.4 million) in sales for "Vegetable Earth Diet," an alternative meat brand, in August 2023, just a year after the brand's launch in August 2022. The vegan meat brand offers a variety of products, including soybean-based canned ham and ready-to-eat meals like soybean protein dumplings. 
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