John Scharffenberger Signs on as CEO of Hodo Soy Beanery

Categories: Buzz Machine
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Hodo Soy Beanery, the West Oakland producer of tofu, soy milk, and (yuba) soybean skin, just announced that John Scharffenberger has joined the company as its CEO. Scharffenberger is one of the cofounders of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker (now owned by Hershey) and, before that, founded Scharffenberger Cellars (now owned by Maisons Marques & Domaines).

Hodo, which began as a farmers market vendor and now sells to dozens of Bay Area markets, has been slowly expanding since its debut in 2004. According to Hodo's press rep, Deborah Kwan, Scharffenberger first encountered Hodo at the Berkeley farmers' market and became an investor about 18 months ago. Presumably, he helped the company move into its new factory in September 2009.

What does this mean for Hodo Soy?

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According to the press release, he's going to take on sales, marketing and distribution, while founder Minh Tsai will focus more exclusively on making soy products. Given the company's focus on fresh tofu, says Kwan, there's no plan to go national yet; if they do expand, they'd build additional factories around the country rather than ship from West Oakland.

SFoodie has been curious to see what aspect of the artisanal food movement the zeitgeist-savvy Scharffenberger would turn to next. He continues to have his fingers in many, many different pots ― raising pigs for Iberico ham, making sauerkraut for Let's Be Frank, advising Scharffen Berger on sourcing and sustainability issues, and finishing up work on a new book about the geography of cacao.

Follow us on Twitter: @SFoodie. Follow me at @jonkauffman.

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