The Japan Tofu Association is Japan's representative body of all domestic tofu producers.
Early Tofu Production
In 1962 (Showa 37) the so-called Juuten (direct-fill) “tofu in a bag” production technique (Proton Tofu) was developed, in which the soy milk used in the traditional tofu making process was chilled before adding a coagulant, with the mixture injected directly into a receptacle for subsequent heat coagulation. This “tofu in a bag” was cylindrical in shape and the coagulant used in the process was calcium sulfate, which meant that the technology at the time could not provide consistent product quality, and for this and various other reasons the popularity of “tofu in a bag” was limited to just a few regions.
Development and Merchandising
Around 1966 the industry successfully developed and merchandised Juuten silken tofu, a hygienic product with good shelf life and consistent quality. Through a change from the previous cylindrical shape to the current block shape of tofu, the development of a sealed package and the introduction of glucono delta-lactone as the coagulant arose.
At this time, with high volume retail stores beginning to appear throughout Japan, Juuten silken tofu rapidly developed as a product due to its suitability for transportation. Hitherto, major tofu producers began to earnestly producte Juuten silken tofu. Juuten silken tofu instantly spread across the nation with production volume increasing accordingly, and some regions even went as far as to replace the traditional silken tofu with Juuten silken tofu.
Establishment of the Discussion Group
Products varied in size, quality, etc. since there were no official standards for the new Juuten silken tofu. The tofu producers drafted their own standards and further determined the need for compliance with JAS (Japan Agricultural Standards). The establishment of an organization which would, from a sales perspective, work towards smooth business relations with distributors while simultaneously serving as a place of mutual technological development research between competitors was also proposed. In 1975 the founding member companies made a concerted effort in this vein by establishing the Voluntary Discussion Group for Packaging and Tofu in December 1976, now known as the Japan Tofu Association.