Meiji says popularity of probiotic yoghurt in Japan is growing

Meiji says popularity of probiotic yoghurt in Japan is growing

Japanese food manufacturer Meiji is to boost its probiotics manufacturing by opening a JPY11.5bn (US$145.5m) dairy factory.

The facility in Aichi prefecture, near Nagoya, will replace an existing nearby plant and is set to start operations in September 2014, with a production capacity 1.5 times the current factory.

"This new plant is in line with our mid-term strategy to boost profits by 2020 as we will focus more on expanding our probiotics yoghurt product line," a Meiji spokesman told just-food.

The new plant will initially manufacture three major products: Probio LG21, a probiotics yoghurt, its Bulgaria Yogurt regular yoghurt, and Mainichi Oishi Milk. It will later add the manufacture of other dairy drinks and yoghurts.

Profits from Meiji's dairy products were JPY9.2bn (US$116.4m) during the first half of 2012, more than double the same period last year. Meiji attributes the strong growth to the fast growing popularity of probiotics yoghurts among health-conscious Japanese consumers but, right now, the company has only two such products LG21 and R-1.