Yakult opened a 76,800-square-foot facility last week in Fountain Valley, where the Japanese company will manufacture its probiotic drink in the United States for the first time.
The facility will produce 400,000 bottles a day and increase capacity to up to 950,000 bottles, all containing Yakult's probiotic strain, L. casei Shirota. Probiotics are live bacteria said to promote digestion and other health benefits.
"At first the products that (were) being sold in the U.S. were coming from our plant in Mexico, but we decided, since California is the number one selling state in the U.S., that we wanted to come to California," Yakult Deputy President Yoshihiro Kawabata said in Japanese through a translator.
Fountain Valley was narrowed down as the best location, he said.
"We looked at a lot of cities, but the infrastructure, location, expendability and the enthusiasm of the people of Fountain Valley was the best," Kawabata said.
Sales of Yakult in the United States rose 112.6 percent last year, to 182,000 bottles sold per day, according to the company.
The factory will supply stores in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.
--City News Service