Meiji said that it expects the yogurt market in Japan will continue to grow, and the company is investing ¥5bn ($47m) in its Toda plant to expand its functional yogurt business, and ensure the provision of products for the growing market.
To do this, the company is installing a production line for its yogurt drinks.
The line consists of three brands, Meiji Probio Yogurt LG21, Meiji Probio Yogurt R-1 and Meiji Probio Yogurt PA-3.
Meiji says that the series of yogurts has been reaching double-digit growth year-on-year, and net sales for the fiscal year ending March 2016 were ¥100bn ($938.5m).
Quarterly financial report
The company also released its financial report for the first half of the financial year ending March 31, 2017. The six months ending September 30, 2016 saw sales of ¥606.8bn ($5.7bn), an improvement on the first six months of 2015, which saw sales of ¥592bn ($5.6bn).
In the food segment of the business, net sales rose by 3.5% compared to the previous half year to ¥535.3bn ($5bn).
Net sales of the fresh and fermented dairy business and other business increased year-on-year, while processed food, confectionery and nutrition decreased, which the company attributed to SKU reduction.
Figures good for yogurt
The company said net sales of functional yogurt increased significantly. Drinking milk, however, decreased.
Probiotic yogurts saw the strongest year-on-year growth of all foods, a 20.4% increase in sales over the previous year’s first half.
Net sales of cheese increased year-on-year, as did Meiji Hokkaido Tokachi, which the company attributed to the strong growth of Camembert cheese.
Net sales of Meiji Saite Oishii Mozarella, a new product from 2016, grew significantly.
Net sales of margarine declined, as did frozen food, while the ice cream brands of Meiji Essel Super Cup and Meiji Gold Line performed well, the company said.
In nutrition, sports nutrition product sales increased, as did infant formula.
In the export market, Meiji said that net sales of infant formula increased, sales to Pakistan were favorable, and the company resumed sales of infant formula in Vietnam in June 2016.