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Yakult ups production in ‘promising’ China

By Kacey Culliney , 30-Jul-2012

Japanese probiotics hulk Yakult is driving up production of its iconic fermented milk drink at its Tianjin facility in China amid ‘promising’ growth opportunities.

Yakult has said it will double production to 1.2m bottles per day by May 2013, up from its current capacity of 600,000 per day.

The Tianjin plant commenced production in August 2011 to supply Northern China and Northeast China and is one of three Yakult production plants across the country.

By May 2013, the aim is for three facilities to have a total production capacity of 4.2m bottles per day, the firm said.

Yakult sales will also commence in the Northeastern province of Jilin through foreign retail stores like Walmart and Carrefour in the capital city of Changchun.

This city has a population of around 7.6m and is a “promising market” for Yakult as it accelerates business expansion, the company said.

An Asian hold…

Asia’s probiotics cultures market is booming, with market revenues pegged at US$310m in 2011 and set to soar to US$523m by 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan.

This growth will be “thanks to increasing awareness about the benefits of consuming probiotics” across Asia, the firm said.

Japan leads the sector, followed by Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand, the research suggested.

Yakult Honsha, along with Meiji Seika, Chr Hansen and Morinaga, is one of the strongest market player across the Asia Pacific region.

It has representation across a number of markets including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and India.

The firm has been active in its expansion plans this year, with a new production plant in Indonesia announced in June 2012 set to commence production in December 2013. In February, Yakult also committed to expanding its reach across Southern India through its joint venture company Yakult Danone India; formed in 2005 to manufacture and launch products into the country.

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