US consumers drink 122,000 bottles of Yakult a day

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United states, United states dollar

Yakult will open its first US factory in Fountain Valley, California, in 2012
Yakult will open its first US factory in Fountain Valley, California, in 2012
US consumers drink 122,000 bottles of probiotic drink Yakult a day based on an average of bottles sold in the period January to September 2011.

This compares with 108,000 a day in the same period in 2010 and 86,000 in the same period in 2009.

The figures were released on Friday as the Japanese probiotics specialist posted a 15.9% drop in second quarter net income to ¥6.838bn ($88.7m) on sales up 1.1% to ¥158.404bn ($2.05bn) in the three months to September 30. Pre-tax profits were flat at ¥13.7bn ($177.7m).

While Yakult USA remains a relatively small player in Yakult’s global probiotics empire, sales have been growing rapidly and bosses will open their first US factory in Fountain Valley, California, next year.

However, US sales are still well behind markets such as South Korea, where Yakult sells 4.1m bottles/day, Mexico, where it sells 3.4m bottles/day, and Brazil, where it sells 1.7m bottles a day.

Volume slump in Europe

Yakult, which sold on average 27.494m bottles/day in fiscal year 2011 and is aiming to sell 30.1m bottles per day in 2013, has notched up strong volume growth in the US, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia this year.

However, it has struggled in many parts of Europe (with the exception of Italy) as competition has increased, and saw drops in volume in the UK, Belgium, Germany and Austria.

Second quarter sales in the Americas (USA, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina) were up 7.6% to ¥20.47bn yen, but were higher on a constant currency basis (up 10%) as the strength of the yen against the dollar means the firm takes a hit when translating sales from dollars to yen.

New US factory set to open in 2012

A short drive from Yakult USA’s HQ in Torrance, California, Yakult’s new US factory will initially produce 250,000 bottles of Yakult a day, but could ultimately make up to 760,000 bottles a day.

The new factory will supply stores in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, which are currently supplied by Yakult’s factory in Guadalajara, Mexico, but will also provide a platform for expansion into new regions.

Global expansion plans

The firm is looking to expand its global reach in the coming years and is conducting a series of feasibility studies “based on the assumption of market entry​” in several countries in Latin America, Indochina, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

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