Unit sales are surging about 40% annually for the line, which is anchored by Tofurky Roast and has expanded into Tofurky sausages and deli slices. Turtle Island Foods, which markets several other meat-substitute products, had revenue topping $11 million last year.
The company runs Tofurky print ads, created in-house, in vegetarian magazines. But word-of-mouth has provided the biggest lift, helping it cut into popular consciousness. Example: a Citibank print ad in which a woman says, "Well, my son Jack went and married a vegetarian. ... It was my first Tofurky, and I wanted it to be just right."
"We let them use the brand however they want," says founder and President Seth Tibbott, 57, who calculates that the free mentions are worth $1.5 million annually.