Meiji Co Ltd – the dairy subsidiary of Meiji Holdings – hopes to break ground on the new Inazawa City, Aichi Prefecture-based facility in April 2013.
Operations at the plant, which will manufacture milk, yogurt, milk beverages and products for home delivery, are scheduled to begin in September 2014.
Through the investment, the Tokyo-based firm hopes to “strengthen its fresh dairy business operations” and broaden the reach of its existing core brands including Meiji Oishii Gyunyu, Meiji Bulgaria Yogurt, and Meiji Probio Yogurt LG21.
The investment will also facilitate the launch of new products for home delivery, and a range of milk beverages.
“The manufacturing facility will have an effective arrangement of high capacity and compact manufacturing equipment, aiming at increasing productivity and production capacity. We will aim for new standards of manufacturing by producing high-quality and safe products, while also increasing the business’s competitiveness,” said a statement released by Meiji.
Strengthen fresh dairy business
“In order to increase production capacity of yogurt and drinking milk, Meiji Holdings’ subsidiary, Meiji Co Ltd plans to begin construction of a new plant,” said the statement.
“During the current medium-term plan the company is aiming to proactively expand its business, by focusing on the company’s strength – probiotic yogurt products that are known for their originality and superiority.”
“In line with those objectives, the company has decided to build a new plant in Inazawa City, Aichi Prefecture, as part of the measures to strengthen the fresh dairy business,” the statement added.
Once fully operational, the new plant will have a production capacity of approximately 113,000 kilo litres (kL) per year – 1.5 times greater than Meiji’s existing Aichi plant, which is scheduled to close in December 2014.
Yogurt sales jump
Meiji, which is Japan’s largest dairy processor, featured tenth in this year’s Rabobank Dairy Top 20.
The firm’s dairy segment reported net sales of 314.8bn yen ($3.8bn, €3bn) for the six months ending September 2012 – a 22.4% increase on H1 2011/12. The firm attributed the increase to a jump in yogurt sales and steady growth processed dairy product sales.