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Yamazaki Baking, the Japan-based bakery group, is to build a new plant in its domestic market.

In a statement, the company said the factory will make products including bread, croissants and donuts. Construction of the plant, which will be in the southern city of Kobe, is slated to start in January. Yamazaki is aiming to begin production in March 2018. The factory will employ around 330 staff, Yamazaki said.

Reporting on the investment, local business publication Nikkei Asian Review said bread is replacing rice as the staple in the diet of many consumers in Japan. It pointed to government data that showed Japanese households with two or more people spent more on bread than on rice for the first time in 2011.

Nikkei Asian Review also cited data from research firm Fuji Keizai, which has forecast Japan’s bread market will be worth JPY937bn, 13% more than in 2010.

In August, Yamazaki reported improved first-half revenue and profits, with only sales of its “western-style confectionery” lines falling year-on-year.

The group has recently expanded its operations in the US, buying local firm Bakewise Brands from private-equity firm Ancor Capital Partners and investment fund Merit Capital Partners.

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By GlobalData