Yakult, a probiotic dairy beverage popular in Japan and sold in over 30 countries, is getting a big boost in the U.S. with the launch of a new state-of-the -art production facility in Southern California that is capable of producing 400,000 bottles per day.
Yakult U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. opened the new Fountain Valley, Calif. plant on May 16 after nearly two years of construction. The 76,800 sq. ft. facility will enable the company “to provide a more stable supply source” of its products instead of importing from Mexico, according to a company statement. Yakult U.S.A. stated that 2013 sales averaged about 182,000 bottles a day, a 112.6 percent increase over 2012, and expects demand to continue rising.
In the U.S. Yakult drinks are packaged in 2.7 oz. plastic bottles topped with a foil seal. Available in regular and “light” varieties (sweetened with sucrose and stevia, respectively), the products are made with skim milk and Lactobacillus casei Shirota, an exclusive Yakult probiotic strain that is said to benefit the body’s digestive and immune systems.
While U.S. sales of Yakult have steadily grown since its American debut in September, 2007, they still represent a relatively tiny part of overall global sales of the company’s products, which Yakult estimates at approximately 30 million bottles per day. Nevertheless, U.S. consumers are increasingly including probiotic food and beverages as part of their daily diets, and it’s clear that Yakult is looking to gain a larger share of the market.