Is DHA Stable in Tofu?


House Foods is introducing tofu blocks with added DHA, but will that DHA be stable after customers fry and bake these tofu blocks?

Before the end of the year, soy products maker House Foods will introduce two tofu blocks with added DHA omega-3 from algae. The marketing decision could spice up the tofu block category, which rarely includes added nutritional ingredients, but is DHA stable in tofu-a product that’s often sautéed and baked under high heat?

In theory, functional tofu makes sense. Tofu blocks have very short shelf life and must be refrigerated, and these two factors greatly reduce the likelihood that an added ingredient degrades during a product’s shelf life. But what happens once when the DHA in House Foods’ tofu is exposed to cooking temperatures at home? Nutritional Outlook contacted House Foods to find out if the company or its algal oil supplier has performed any relevant studies. No word yet.

Algal oil is both sustainable and highly nutritious, so its market potential outside of dietary supplements is high. Qualitas Health (Imperial, TX), for instance, which supplies an EPA-rich algal oil, says it is very interested in functional food and beverage markets, but having data on algal oil stability in each food matrix is important. Once Qualitas completes its GRAS dossier to legally enter the food and beverage space, the company’s next step will be crafting food application experiments-so that it knows, for example, if its algal oil is stable in fried tofu.

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