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Side-dish Consumption

Salted Fish

Even though salted fish was an indispensible accompaniment to rice in the low-income diet, the quantity consumed by persons in group 1 was not the highest. The highest consumption, 16.2 g per person per day, was in group 11 (table 2). As the income increased, salted fish consumption decreased to 6.9 g in group V, compared to 13.9 g in group I. This pattern reveals that salted fish is popular among the low-income groups and is not an uncommon side dish in the higher-income families.

The salty and fishy flavour of salted fish make it a most suitable complement to the bland flavour of boiled rice. Since other food items besides rice are considered less important in filling the basic need for food, owing to their higher price and scarcity, to avoid hunger people seek a kind of side dish that is affordable and enables them to eat much rice. At times, salted fish is also eaten with boiled tubers and other starchy foods.

In the two counties' markets, salted fish was available in varying quality. Besides the variety of fish, salt content was the only criterion used to determine the quality. The lowest quality, and hence the least costly ($1.5/kg) and most consumed by the low-income population, contained as much as 40 per cent salt. This high salt content limits the consumption of this side dish.

Although salted fish was reported to contain high levels of protein (33.4 per cent—see table 3) and was an important animal protein source for the low-income population, the quality of its protein is not known, and careful consideration should be given to the impact of the manufacturing process on the protein quality and safety of the product.

Meat, Milk, and Eggs

Meat, milk, and eggs are more expensive sources of protein than tofu or salted fish. Therefore, it is not surprising that the first group, whose monthly income was below $40, could only have these products in limited amounts.

It appears that the main limiting factor was buying capability. As the monthly income increased, the amount of eggs and meat consumed increased. The levelling pattern of milk consumption in income group IV could be explained by the fact that milk was mainly consumed by babies and toddlers.

Family planning, including birth control, in Indonesia has been strongly supported by the government and has had a considerable effect, especially among those with higher income. Therefore the number of children in higher-income families is usually small, or at least not larger than that in poorer families.

Among the non-tofu protein sources discussed here, meat was usually considered to be the most luxurious, and to increase family status, while eggs and, less significantly, milk were not considered in the same way. When people have more money, they will satisfy their "hunger" for luxurious foods such as meat rather than eggs.

Another limiting factor that may contribute to the smaller amount of milk, milk products, eggs, and meat consumed by the poorer group is the nutritional attitude of the mothers (parents), which plays an important role in deciding what the family eats. From the interviews in the villages, we found that only on certain special occasions such as the Muslim New Year was meat eaten; then the poor people made efforts to buy, from their savings, products such as beef, goat, and chicken. The total meat consumption throughout the year included fish, poultry, and other unconventional sources such as wild birds, river fish, fresh-water shellfish, and forest animals. The degree to which these unconventional sources contribute to rural meat consumption is not yet known. They might be worth considering as potential sources of low-cost animal protein.

TABLE 5. Characteristics of three sizes of tofu shops in Bogor City Shop scale

Shop descriptions Small Medium Large
Buying cost (Rp/kg) 468 460 432
Daily use (kg) 25 79 167
Daily expenses (RP) 11,700 32,340 72,144
Wood (m³/day) 0.8 - 1.5
Kerosene (I/day) 26.6 56.0 65.0
Diesel (I/day) 1.9 2.6 4.7
Daily expenses (Rp) 4,142 8,881 11,370
Quantity (persons) 3 5 16
Wages (Rp/month) 31,250 35,520 43,750
Daily expenses (Rp) 3,125 5,920 23,333
Yield (kg/day)a 75 237 501
Amount produced
1,744 5,511 11,651
In the shops
Production cost (Rp/day) 19,567 51,141 106,846
Selling price (Rp/piece) 15 15 15
Income (Rp/day) 26,160 82,665 174,766
Profit (Rp/day)c 6,593 31,524 67,918
In the markets
Vendors (person) 3 10 23
Selling price (Rp/piece) 22 22 22
Profit (Rp/vender) 4,069 3,858 3,546

a. Average yield of 1 kg soybean is equivalent to 3 kg tofu.
b. Using the standard weight 43 g/piece, standard price Rp 22 in the market (see table 1).
c. Does not include other production costs such as equipment, transportation, tax, etc.

Tofu Shops

The 20 tofu shops observed were operated in the same building as the owner's dwelling, mostly in kitchens that were no larger than the living portion of the building. The tofu produced could be purchased on the premises by direct consumers and tofu vendors, or sold by the owners or their family members in the markets or in residential areas.

Production Capacity

The production capacity of the shops observed varied from 10 to 200 kg of soybeans daily. Based on the daily capacity to use soybeans, the shops were categorized as follows: 10 to 40 kg were small-scale, 70 to 100 kg medium-scale, and 125 to 200 kg large-scale. There were 12, 5, and 3 shops in small, medium, and large categories respectively. The averages for production materials used and total yield in all the shops in each category were calculated and are presented in table 5.

In Bogor alone there are more than 26 tofu shops listed officially. These shops acquire raw soybeans from grossiers in local markets or the local government's soybean cooperative; these soybeans are either imported or mostly, delivered, from plantations in East Java. As can be seen in table 5, the large-scale shops spent less for a kilogram of soybeans used, owing largely to the greater quantity purchased. The shops used several varieties, but mostly white or green soybeans, or both.

TABLE 6. Production material utilization in tofu shops in Indonesia

Material utilization 1980 1981
Soybean (ton) 6,450 8,077
Coagulant (ton) 37 64
Vinegars (I) 8,201 7
Salt (tom 88 144
Oils (I) 1,400 1,000

Based on the information about the materials used, the capacity yield of each shop category was estimated (table 5.) The quantity of tofu produced was calculated using the standard weight of 43 g per piece sold in the market at 2.2 cents each (table 6). On the assumption that all tofu of this weight was sold in the shops at 1.5 cents, the gross income of each shop category was calculated. The results of this calculation show that the larger-scale shops had larger profits. The profit ratio of the small, medium, and large shops is approximately 1:5:10, while the ratio of capacity to use soybean is 1:3:7.

The shops do not produce a consistent quantity and size of tofu. All those interviewed consistently use the same quantity of raw soybean daily; however, the size, and hence the quantity, of the product are inconsistent, since they depend on the demand of the vendors. For example, the curd could be pressed or unpressed and cut into pieces of 50, 40 or 25 g or mixed sizes. Sometimes, operating facilities were rented to a vendor who wanted to produce his own tofu. Therefore a standard yield was obtained by comparing observations in a shop, results in the university's pilot plant, and the report of an earlier study on tofu produced in West Java. The ratio of production yield to soybean raw material was estimated to be 3:1 (table 7).

TABLE 7. Yield of tofu in a shop, in the laboratory, and cited from a report

Production Shopa Laboratoryb Citedc
Soybean (Kg) 70 5 50 100 300 40
Quantity (pieces) 494 32 2,000 3,600 22,000 1,500
      800 9,800 900
      1,000   600
Weight (g) 115 300 40 50 40 50
      70 60 40
      70 25  
Total (kg) 232.0 9.6 80 306 1,288 126
Ratio of raw material to yield 1:3 1:2 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:3

a. Observed in shop no. 13.
b. Produced in the department's pilot plant.
c. Wigandi [16].

In addition to processing, the shops provided marketing employment. Vendors were not employed by the shops but operated their own marketing enterprises. With each vendor carrying 25 kg of tofu, the small, medium, and large shops employed respectively 3, 10, and 20 labourers. As can be seen in table 5, each vendor would earn approximately 4,000 rupiahs daily by selling tofu at 2.2 cents per piece. Another source of income in the shops is the soy cake, obtained after filtering and pressing soy puree to obtain soy milk. As much as 7.5 kg soy cake is produced from 5 kg raw soybean (data obtained from the department pilot plant). The same amount of oncom produced could be sold at $0.50 per kg, resulting in an additional $0.75 for each kilogram of soybean.


The operating establishments were basically the same in all shops except for size and quantity. For example, a medium-scale shop might consist of: three wooden tanks of 1 m³ volume for soaking the beans and curding the heated soy milk; two natural-gas concrete furnaces complemented with large iron cooking works of 0.5 m³ volume; a portable electric generator mill; and eight wooden moulding trays. In this same space, the soy cake was treated and fermented to make oncom. The cake was also sold as poultry or pig feed.

A small shop might consist of two tanks of 0.5 m³ volume each, a stone hand-operated mill, and a semi-permanent concrete furnace using wood as fuel. The fuel changed from wood to kerosene or diesel as the size of the shop increased (table 5). There were also increases in the numbers of labourers employed and in wages. Actually, the operation of a small shop involved the whole family and seldom used outsiders.

Technological Improvement

Considering the role of tofu in the community diet, ensuring a clean and wholesome supply is of primary importance. A product of such quality can be achieved only through the application of sanitary practices, which would involve high standards in the processing system. In addition to better sanitization, improvements in basic processing facilities are urgently needed to increase production efficiency, yield, and the quality of the soy-cake by-product.


Improvement in sanitary practices is seriously needed in the shops. This includes sanitization of the structure, equipment, tools, personnel, and, the most crucial at the moment, water supply and fluid waste disposal. Good sanitization also required improvement in the structure— including the floor of the processing area—the layout of rooms, and the ventilation system. Hygienic procedures, which contribute to the air quality or surface sanitization, or both, include frequent and thorough cleaning of all floor and wall areas. For this reason, all equipment placed in the room should be designed and located in a way that allows for easy cleaning, to prevent the build-up of a contamination source.

Production Efficiency

Considerable effort must be made to improve labour and plant productivity and the quantity of output per man-hour, while still improving the quality of tofu produced. Most important is the installation of a continuous or semi-continuous system for milling, boiling, pressing, and separating soy cake; coagulating, draining, and collecting whey; moulding and cutting; and washing and packing. This system, which need not be automated, would also aid in maintaining sanitary conditions by reducing dripping and splashing by fluids and purees on the floor and equipment.

Furthermore, soy whey may be used as raw material for another soy product such as fermented soy sauce. Using the whey would eliminate waste disposal problems as well as increase the initial amount of soybean used in tofu processing.


Besides the use of appropriate equipment and processing systems, yield could be increased by proper use of a soybean variety, coagulant, etc. In general, the higher-protein soybeans give higher yields [12]. There are at least three ways to coagulate the protein: applying tofu stones (consists of a mixture of calcium salts), vinegar, or heat, or a combination of these.

Diversification of Soy Cake Utilization

High-quality cake will undoubtedly be produced as a result of improvements in tofu processing technology. This product could be not only fermented to make oncom but also processed for the manufacture of high-quality and nutritious meal for supplementation purposes, such as weaning foods, cereal-mixed diet, high-fibre biscuits, snacks, breads, etc.

As previously stated, the quality of soy cake is superior to that of tofu because its protein contains more lysine [4], which is the most important essential amino acid in soybean for the cereal-consuming population.


We express our deepest appreciation to Dr. Mitchell B. Wallerstein, Project Director of the International Food and Nutrition Programme, United Nations University, for his guidance and constant encouragement during the course of the research and the preparation of this report. To Dr. Dedi Fardiaz, the head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Bogor Agricultural University, we convey our gratitude for encouragement and advice, and for providing the necessary facilities. Our sincere appreciation is also extended to the United Nations University for the financial support which made this research possible.


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2. Central Agency for Statistics (BPS), "Penduduk Indonesia 1980 Menurut Propinsi den Kabupaten/Kotamadya," Report no. 2 (BPS, Jakarta, 1980).

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4. R. Bressani (1985).

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10. S. Muto, E. Takahashi, M. Hara, and Y. Konuma, "Soybean Products as Protein Sources for Weanling Infants," J. Am. Dietet Assoc., 43: 451 (1963).

11. Sayogyo, "Pangan den Gizi dalam Pembangunan Semesta" [Food and Nutrition in National Development], presented at the National Symposium on Food and Nutrition, Jogjakarta, Indonesia, 1981.

12. A. K. Smith, T. Watanabe, and A. M. Nash, "Tofu from Japanese and United States Soybeans," Food Technol., 14: 332-336 (1960).

13. B. R. Standal, "Amino Acids in Oriental Soybean Products," J. Am. Dietet Assoc., 50: 397 (1967).

14. K. H. Steinkraus, ed., Handbook of Indigenous Fermented Foods (Marcel Dekker, New York, 1983).

15. B. Sure, "Nutritional Improvement of Cereal Grains with Small Amounts of Foods of High Protein Content," Agr. Expt. Stat. Bull. (University of Arkansas College of Agriculture), 493 (1950) .

16. S. Wigandi, ed., "Penelitian Tahu di DKI Jakarta den Jawa Barat" (Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), Bogor).

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