Cadbury has signalled plans to build a chewing gum production plant in Japan with the acquisition of a site that housed a former Panasonic facility.

The company has paid JPY900m (US$11.1m) for the site in the city of Kiyosu in southern Japan.

Japan’s gum category has stagnated in recent years, like much of the country’s food sector. Gum sales by value were estimated to have fallen 1% in 2009 to JPY164bn, according to Euromonitor data. Sales volumes were said to have fallen 1.6%.

At the end of 2008, Lotte Confectionery accounted for 54.7% of Japan’s gum sales by value. Cadbury was second with 20% of sales and Meiji Seika Kaisha was third with 12.8%.