With more and more people turning to healthier lifestyles, tofu’s previously relatively unknown cousin, tempeh, is starting to show up in stores and recipes alike. But, where can you find this plant-based meat substitute in the grocery store?
You can usually find tempeh next to tofu in the refrigerated unit of the natural foods/vegan section of the grocery store. However, in grocery stores that don’t have a health foods section, you can usually find tempeh with refrigerated products.
Continue reading to learn more about which stores carry tempeh and what to look for when buying it.
3 Places To Check In The Grocery Store For Tempeh
If you’ve never shopped for tempeh at your favorite grocery store, you might be a little lost at first. So here we cover all the possible places (from most likely to least likely) where you can find this traditional Indonesian food.
1. Natural Food/ Vegan Section
The most likely place you’ll find tempeh in any grocery store is in the refrigeration unit of the natural foods or vegan section (some stores also call the vegan section the health foods section). One trick to finding tempeh quickly is to go where you usually find tofu (found in the same section). More often, you’ll find this soy vegan meat substitute with tofu.
Helpful tip: When asking a store employee for help finding tempeh, you can ask for the location of the tofu instead. The two are usually placed together, and tofu is popular, so a store associate can help you better.
2. With The Refrigerated Produce
If your store doesn’t have a vegan/vegetarian/natural/health food section, or you can’t find tempeh in refrigerated cases, the next place to look is a place that stocks refrigerated produce.
Many popular grocery store chains carry tempeh with refrigerated produce that spoils at room temperature. Bog stores have tempeh in the refrigerated sections where you might find other fake meats and fake bacon.
3. Meatless Freezer Section
Although less likely, some stores also carry tempeh in their frozen food aisles. Tempeh is usually a refrigerated product, but depending on where you’re shopping, you may find it in the freezer (or some meat substitutes that include it) along with other meatless options.
Where Can You Buy Tempeh?
Despite its growing popularity in recent times, tempeh can be somewhat difficult to find in all grocery stores, especially when compared to tofu. It’s definitely not the staple pantry found everywhere. However, there are a few places where you can be sure to find this superfood.
Natural Food Or Health Food Stores
The most reliable place to get tempeh (formerly the only place you could find this meat substitute) is natural food or health food stores. That way, if you have someone around, you can get a temp from them.
Most Famous Grocery Chains
Nowadays, most retail big names like Target, Walmart, and Kroger stock tempeh. You can find various popular tempeh brands at these grocery chains, such as Lightlife. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find the Indonesian staple in big box stores because it’s not stocked in traditional locations. In such a case, ask the floor staff to assist you.
Local Tempeh Maker
You can also stop looking for tempeh in stories and find a local tempeh maker yourself. Some cities have small businesses that make tempeh. For example, in Minneapolis, you can buy this meat substitute at Tempeh Tantrum, which is available at various stores and restaurants. So, be sure to research local sellers.
Specialty grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts combine health stores, and major retail formats all carry tempeh. Whole Foods and Sprouts have built their businesses on selling natural, organic products, and Trader Joe’s has its own brand of Tempah. Thus, you can be sure to find tempeh in these stores. In fact, their extensive locations have been instrumental in introducing healthy meat alternatives like tempeh to the public.
Can You Buy Tempeh Online?
All major retailers and grocers such as Walmart, Target, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Whole Foods that carry tempeh sell it online. Another online retailer that sells tempeh in many varieties is Amazon.
What Does Tempeh Look Like When Packaged?
If you’re someone who’s buying tempeh for the first time, it’s important to know what this fermented vegan food looks like in its packaging.
The tempeh block is shrink-wrapped to extend its shelf life. The top of the wrapper has the nutritional value, while the back is visible so you can see the product you’re buying. If you see dark gray spots on the tempeh block, don’t panic. It is the spores that indicate the full maturity of the tempeh. Any mold that continues to grow or is hairy should not be eaten. Likewise, if your Tampa block starts to smell of ammonia, it’s time to ditch it.
The Bottom Line
You can find refrigerated tempeh with tofu in the health food or vegan section of grocery stores. Other possible locations include refrigerated produce cases or metalless freezer aisles. Also, you can find tempeh in shrink-wrapped packages, with the block visible on one side. What’s more, you can order this vegan superfood from Amazon and other major retailers that carry it.