The facility is expected to start production in the middle of 2015

The facility is expected to start production in the middle of 2015

Japanese confectioner Morinaga is to open its first Hi-Chew production facility in the US to meet increasing demand. 

Its subsidiary, Morinaga America, will invest US$48m to set up the 20-acre facility in Orange County, North Carolina, which will also produce blending syrup, sugar, flavorings and other ingredients to manufacture the soft candy. 

Production is slated to start in the middle of 2015 and the move will create 90 jobs over a three-year period. 

Hi-Chew, which is produced in Taiwan and exported to the US, has seen an "explosion" in demand over the past few years.

Morinaga America CEO Masao Hoshino said: "It is a testament to the strength of our brand that after a few short years in the United States we were able to move forward with this endeavour."

Chief operating officer Terry Kawabe added: "With the recent growth of Hi-Chew, beginning production in the United States made sense for us from a logistical standpoint."

Morinaga America is to receive a performance-based grant of up to $264,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance. Salaries will vary by job function, but total wages are estimated to be more than $3.4m plus benefits. 

Morinaga last month booked an increase in first-quarter earnings, helped by lower lower advertising expenses and higher sales in the period. Its product portfolio also includes chocolate, cookies and ice cream sandwiches.

Show the press release

Morinaga America to Open U.S. Production Facility

Irvine, CA (September 3, 2013) – Morinaga America, Inc. is pleased to announce plans for the opening of a production facility in Orange County, North Carolina.

The 20-acre facility will be the first of its kind on U.S. soil for Morinaga-America which is the sole marketing and distribution channel for HI-CHEW Fruit Chews in the United States.

“We are so excited announce that we will be beginning operations in North Carolina. It is a testament to the strength of our brand that after a few short years in the United States we were able to move forward with this endeavor. I am confident that our company will only be strengthened more by the new relationship between Morinaga-America, and Orange County, North Carolina.”
-Masao Hoshino, Chief Executive Officer

Currently HI-CHEW is produced in Taiwan and imported to the United States, but it has seen an explosion in popularity in recent years, leading to the decision to begin production in the United States.

“With the recent growth of HI-CHEW, beginning production in the United States made sense for us from a logistical standpoint. We are proud to say that HI-CHEW will soon be “Made in the USA”.
-Terry Kawabe, Chief Operating Officer

The facility is slated to begin operation in the middle of 2015.

Original source: Morinaga America