Operations at Yakult's first plant in the US have begun - a move the Japanese fermented milk drink company says will "provide a more stable supply source" for the US and Canada.
Yakult USA, which supports Yakult's business in North America, announced on May 16 that operations at its new 387,300 square metre manufacturing plant in Fountain Valley, California had begun.
Around 400,000 bottles of Yakult and Yakult Light will roll off lines at the California plant, construction of which began in June 2012, each day, according to Yakult.
Yakult entered the US market in 1990. Since then, sales of its products in the country have been "growing steadily." At the last count, it boasted average daily sales volume of 182,000 bottles, a 12.6% year-on-year increase.
Until now bottles of Yakult and Yakult Light sold in the US were manufactured at a Yakult plant in Mexico. But with demand increasing, Yakult felt it was necessary to establish a "stable supply base" to ensure the "continuation of the business."
"This plant will allow the company to supply the North American market with Yakult produced in the United States instead of importing from Mexico, to meet expect future growth of its business, and to provide a more stable supply source," said Yakult USA.
Yakult has had a busy year already.
In March 2014, it announced that Guangzhou Yakult, one of its five Chinese subsidiaries, had begun production at a second site.
Guangzhou Yakult began producing and distributing Yakult in Guangzhou, China in 2002, and now boasts average daily sales of 1.57m bottles.
Yakult signed-off on the investment on the back of “increased awareness regarding health as well as greater understanding of probiotics in China."
Prior to that, it announced that its business in Indonesia, Yakult Indonesia Persada, had turned on production lines at its second plant in the country.
The facility, which boasts the ability to initially produce 610,000 bottles per day, was designed “strengthen the product supply system” to guarantee “the future expansion of sales area in the country.”
Yakult's recent investments in the US and China are in line with its current Vision 202 growth strategy, which outlined plans to develop operating bases in the countries.