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Aloha Tofu

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Aloha Tofu Aloha Tofu started in 1950 when Kamesaburo and Tsuruko Uyehara took over control of a friend's tofu factory. At the time, Kamesaburo only wanted to support his family. Now Aloha Tofu is the largest tofu producer in Hawaii. The company aims to provide fresh tofu to the Hawaiian islands. Their logo (Appendix 1) is a japanese mon, or crest, made of a crane and a turtle. Both symbolize longevity and are taken from the founders' grandparents' names. The first factory was on Dillingham Boulevard. In 1964, they changed location to Ala Moana Farmers Market until a fire destroyed the factory. They rebuilt that factory and in 1976 the Uyehara family built a new factory in Kalihi. The plant tour (Appendix 2) illustrates the way Aloha Tofu produces their firm tofu. This type of tofu is unique because it absorbs more flavor and will stay the same shape if it's “fried, broiled, grilled or boiled”. It can be used in many different kinds of recipes, and as a meat substitute in many cultural foods. The tofu start out as soybeans. They are put in 2 hoppers overnight where they soak for 6-8 hours. At this point they double in size and are then placed into a grinder (0:41). It is then placed into 2 cookers for 40-45 minutes. At this point some of the liquid is removed from the crushed soybeans. The okata is removed because it doesn't work to make the tofu (1:08). The remainder is soymilk, which is then given a coagulant (nigari, a form of magnesium chloride and calcium sulfate). If too much nigari is added, it can ruin the flavor of the tofu, as it will be too bitter. At this stage the tofu is in a gel-like form (2:13). The curds are then broken up to form a firmer tofu and they are placed into molds. From there the product is pressed to remove whey. It is then covered by hand and pressed by a hydraulic machine. While it is placed into the cooling tank, the tofu is cut from a large block into smaller pieces. (3:30). This process is expedited by the use of combined knives so that one person can cut several lines at once. Finally, the tofu is separated into 36 blocks which are then packed separately into containers. The tofu then cools for thirty to forty minutes and is then placed in a shipping unit and covered with ice water to prevent premature expiration. This production process is a batch process, with the tofu being made in larger blocks before being cut into batches of 36. It is a non-continuous stream because workers have to move the tofu from one location to another. There is moderate volume and variety in the production process. Variety can be seen in the number of products Aloha Tofu has ranging from hard to soft, fried or unfried tofu, fermented soybeans, and konyaku, which is hydrated potato powder in noodle form. In order to maintain the quality and image of their brand, Aloha Tofu incurs a few costs. If the tofu is made incorrectly or expires, the product has to be recalled before customers consume it. Thus, the company does all that it can to prevent internal failures. If the product goes bad because of damaged packaging or expiration during transit, and the customer discovers this, the external failure cost can have damaging ramifications for the brand. Customers will trust the brand less, which will decrease sales in the future. Thus, Aloha Tofu focuses on the appraisal costs of pre-packaging texture and quality inspections, as well as prevention costs that keep the tofu from expiring by filling the shipping units with ice water. Aloha Tofu's packaging is simple and well-designed to let the product be the main focus. It has become a household name in the last 50 years, and is perceived to be the best tofu producer and supplier in Hawaii. The company aims to perform and conform by creating the freshest, highest quality tofu possible. They feature a range of products, such as tofu cheesecake and tofu mousse, and their website has recipes, as well as a cookbook (Appendix 3), that teach consumers new ways to utilize the product. “The Uyehara Family invites everyone to enjoy the versatility and health benefits that Aloha Tofu has to offer.”

Appendix 1


Appendix 2

Virtual Plant Tour Video

Appendix 3


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