After 40 years, Tofutti rebrands to follow the vegan food movement

In 1981, Tofutti first appeared on the burgeoning vegan food scene as a kosher-parve brand that happened to be vegan. Since then, the New Jersey-based company has become a staple in vegan households with popular items such as its Tofutti Cuties ice cream sandwiches; pints of ice cream; Dippity Do Dah Dips; and its popular “Better Than” line of ricotta cheese, cream cheese and sour cream.

This week, Tofutti unveiled its trademark refresh, which was designed by fellow New Jersey company Dark Horse Design. The new packaging unifies the brand with a sleeker black label while maintaining its iconic retro look.

Gerry Pugliese, director of marketing and public relations for Tofutti, told VegNews that the brand needed a refresh after four decades in business given how big the vegan food movement has been since the company launched.

“It comes down to demand and competition,” Pugliese said. “In 1981, Tofutti had no competition, Tofutti invented the dairy-free market, but the demand for vegan, plant-based alternatives has skyrocketed and where there is increased demand there will be a increased competition. Today, Tofutti doesn’t really compete with traditional dairy products because the plant-based market is so big. Instead, we compete with the other plant-based brands.”

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Tofutti rebrands to keep up with the evolution of vegan food

While many newer brands have used terms like “plant-based” and “vegan” to describe their products, Tofutti has stuck to its classic kosher and halal messages until recently. Last summer, the company launched a new logo with the word “vegan” prominently as a way to speak to its largest customer base.

With its new message and refreshed, consistent packaging, Tofutti is ready to delight a new generation of plant-eaters while continuing to appeal to its loyal fanbase. “Our internal research revealed that vegans make up the lion’s share of our customers and that being vegan and plant-based is hugely popular, so it was obvious who we needed to appeal to more, especially as more and more consumers are going plant-based, vegan,” Pugliese said. “Vegans are passionate, dedicated, and will proudly buy from companies whose sensitivities match their own.”

And while Tofutti’s products may look different, Pugliese promises the content will remain the same, always vegan, kosher-parved and halal.

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The vegan brands that started it all

Tofutti is part of a pioneering cohort of brands that laid the groundwork for the vegan movement decades ago. Tofurky and Follow Your Heart (FYH), founded in 1980 and 1970 respectively, paved the way for future innovators. Tofurky has transformed the Thanksgiving table — and everyday sandwiches — with its plant-based turkey alternatives. FYH’s top-selling condiment, Vegenaise, has become a household name for consumers looking for a flavorful vegan alternative to traditional mayonnaise.

The next generation of vegan food pioneers arrived with the launch of Gardein and Daiya in 2003 and 2008, respectively. Gardein took plant-based meats to the next level with alternatives to pork, chicken, hot pockets, and more, while Daiya broke new ground in the dairy-free cheese space with its melty shreds and slices; boxed macaroni and cheese; pizza; and desserts. Fast forward to today, and vegan giants like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Miyoko’s Creamery and more have carried the torch to further revolutionize the plant-based food market – which in 2020 was valued at $7 billion in the Us alone.

With technologies like precision fermentation and AI-driven discoveries in plant-based meat, new companies are coming to market with products that closely mimic animal products. And while they all compete for storage space with pioneering brands, the unifying goal is to create a better food system that’s kinder to animals, people and the environment, delivering innovative products that reduce consumer dependence on animal agriculture.

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As for Tofutti, the historical brand intends to continue to innovate taking into account the evolution of consumer habits. “We are always working on new things; the heart of Tofutti for decades has been research and development,” said Pugliese. “As the market continues to grow and new competitors enter the market, we will continue to produce products that meet demand. Our new packaging was exactly that, the market demanded Tofutti get a fresh coat of paint, so we got out our brushes.

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