Japanese food group Meiji Holdings has increased its production capacity for probiotic yoghurt in response to growing domestic demand.

As part of its “Take Off 14” mid-term business plan, Meiji has said it is focused on expanding and fostering businesses in growth.

The company is working “aggressively” to grow sales of probiotic yoghurt, a product it expects to see “sustained” future growth. During 2012, Meiji saw probiotic sales rise by more than 50% to JPY57bn (US$570m). The company added fiscal 2013 sales are expected to outperform 2012 by a “significant margin”.

In order for production to keep pace with growing demand, Meiji said on Monday (18 November) it is working to increase capacity.

“At the Moriya plant and Kyoto plant, the current production sites for our mainstay probiotic drinks, we have added a new production line at each facility and will begin operation of these lines starting next month. These upgrades will increase current production capacity by more than 30% by the end of January 2014,” Meiji said.

Meiji has invested JPY2.7bn in Moriya and JPY2.1bn in Kyoto.

The group manufactures and markets Meiji Probio Yoghurt and Meiji Yoghurt R1 for sale in Japan.

In a seperate announcement, Meiji has revealed it plans to enter the Chinese chilled dairy market. The company said it is targeting growth in China, Asia and the US.