Good practice

Successful material audit in tofu-making factory

Successful material audit in tofu-making factory
© Moving Moment, image #166356851, source:
Energy, Materials, Waste
Food processing
Medium cost
Annual saving:
Payback time:
Depends on the cost of the audit, which varies from one country to another, on the type of company, number of sites covered, quality of input documentation, etc.; usual range is from € 3 000 to € 5 000 with higher prices for more complex cases, in stronger markets, or where prices are generally above the European average
Total cost savings:
Material audit generates annual savings of roughly 5 % on € 2.1 million net revenue (2016); biowaste volumes are halved, packing materials reduced, and relative energy efficiency improved
Size of company:
Small (less than 50)

Keep an open mind!

  • External experts can see what needs doing from the outside-in
  • Material audit halves biowaste production, identifies packaging and waste-saving options, and drives revenue up  

Oy Soya Ab’s tofu production plant is situated in Tammisaari, southern Finland. Soya’s business is to provide consumers with pure and healthy food made from the best vegetable-based ingredients through natural production processes. The company focuses mainly on nearby markets like the Nordic countries, Baltic region as well as the city of Saint Petersburg in Russia.

A material audit based on Motiva’s model was carried out at the plant, concentrating on tofu production. The essential challenges were to analyse the costs and material flows of the production process, and to find concrete savings. The insights gained from the exercise proved so valuable to Soya that it recommends material audits for other small and medium sized businesses. 

Companies wishing to carry out such audits should gather detailed data on their processes, and keep an open mind about the outcomes. Auditing by an outside expert is proactive and systematic, and can save a company time and effort trying to do it all internally.

Key benefits

  • The material audit drew attention to the proper training of staff and clarification of responsibilities
  • The audit resulted in production residues being halved
  • Options to reprocess production residues were surveyed and compared in order to find the most cost-effective solution (this also reduced waste fees)
  • Overpacking issues were resolved (more exact weighing and new packing machine)
  • Principle of continuous improvement introduced as part of daily product quality controls
  • Pricing calculations were updated (audit helped to define the cost per kilo)
  • Reduced packaging of raw material deliveries
  • Electricity consumption increased by 5 % but net revenues increased 30 % (relative energy efficiency improved)

"The material audit was successful. It helped us to create savings, to see our operations from new angles and to target our resources to right points needing development. In future the major part of our biowaste flows can be reprocessed into natural fertiliser in bioreactor beside the plant." - Jouko Riihimäki, Director, Soya

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