According to its latest annual financial report, its net sales of frozen desserts grew 100.4% yoy, hitting JPY$37.2bn (US$339.9m), with chocolate and vanilla flavoured products bringing strong sales.
The report added sales of frozen desserts were forced to be suspended as it could not keep up with the overwhelming demand during the hot summer last year.
Overall in Japan, findings from Yano Research Institute also highlighted that ice cream is the number one dessert choice amongst Japanese. Nearly 8 in 10 of the Japanese consumers surveyed said they “love” or “like” ice cream.
As for chocolate, a spokesman from the firm told FoodNavigator-Asia that sales had grown by 110% between 2015 and 2017.
According to the firm, the third Takasaki factory, where the additional manufacturing lines would be located, spans across an area of 35,450 sq.
At present, the factory itself is still under construction and is expected to complete in April next year.
It was previously meant to produce only the DARS chocolate range, but the firm then decided to add more production lines to manufacture Choco Monaka Jumbo and Ita Choco Ice as well.
As such, the firm had further poured in JPY$8.6bn (US$78.5m) to meet the additional production needs.
Production of DARS chocolate is expected to start September next year and the other two products in April 2021.
The move to focus on popular products is in line with the company’s medium-term management plan. The firm hopes to strengthen popular confectionery and frozen dessert brands in hopes of achieving a more stable revenue base.
“We studied and researched consumer insight, we develop products which are well-liked by many consumers in Japan. Narrowing down the number of items to focus on helps increase efficiency, productivity, and sales,” the spokesman added.
The top three most popular ice cream and chocolate brands in Japan are dominated by major players.
According to a Euromonitor report published in October last year, Lotte Ice Cream is expected to remain in the leading position in Japan for the whole of 2018.
This is due to its market presence and leadership in both impulse and take-home ice cream segments. The company focuses on the production of six ice cream brands, which are SOH, Coolish, Yukimi Daifuku, Lotte Monaou, Ghana, and Lady Borden.
On the other hand, Morinaga is projected to take the second place due to its strong presence in single portion dairy ice cream.
The report added that due to the rise of single-person households in Japan, manufacturers would tend to focus on producing single portion ice cream.