Yakult unveils plans for first US factory
Although Yakult has established a strong following in key global markets in Europe, Asia and the Americas, the Japanese firm has only recently entered the US.
Since it first launched in the country in late 2007, the company has imported from a factory in Guadalajara, Mexico – a country where it has been selling for 30 years.
US growth plans
So far Yakult said it has achieved “steady and promising growth” in the US, concentrating its sales activities in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. But now the company plans to drive expansion into new regions with the building of a dedicated US factory in the City of Fountain Valley, California.
To be built on 387,000 square feet of land, the factory will have the capacity to manufacture 250,000 bottles of the Yakult probiotic drink per day. Production at the site is due to start in 2012.
Although certain costs may prove higher than in Mexico, Teruo Tabuchi, executive vice president and COO of Yakult USA, told DairyReporter.com that the US factory will reduce logistical costs and offer a number of other benefits.
Tabuchi said it would give the company the opportunity to expand into new regions and explore product line extensions. Also, the executive said having a product that is made in the US has “a powerful impact on American consumers”.
Yakult decided to build its first US factory in California’s Orange County because of its close proximity to Los Angeles. Tabuchi said: “This is our biggest market at the moment since we have been selling Yakult here the longest.”
Regarding its expansion plans in the US, Tabuchi said the intention is to move into new regions but no decision has so far been made as to which ones.
Last year Yakult achieved net sales of ¥293, 490m ($3, 246.8m) and grew its business in the US by 41 per cent compared to the previous year.