EYE ON OPERATIONS

Tokyo-based Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. last week said it will build its first U.S. production facility by 2012 and extend sales of its signature probiotic drink, Yakult, into other areas of the country. "Due to the stable growth of the product through major retail chains such as Kroger, Safeway, SUPERVALU and Wal-Mart on the West Coast, the company has determined it will continue expanding its business to the Midwest and East Coast," officials said. Yakult U.S.A. Inc., Torrance, Calif., is importing the beverage from Guadalajara, Mexico, the closest plant to U.S. border. No location has been chosen for the U.S. factory.
Officials say Yakult was introduced into the U.S. market in September 2007, starting in California and gradually rolling out to other states including Arizona, Nevada and Texas. Currently Yakult's U.S. sales stand at around 100,000 bottles per day in six states and 28 million bottles per day globally.

The Norwich (N.Y.) Evening Sun reported that Chobani greek yogurt maker, AgroFarma Inc., New Berlin, N.Y., has been considering a move to Norwich and to a 335,000-square-foot plant "soon to be vacated" by Procter & Gamble. Industrial Info Resources said the P&G facility -- located on an 88-acre site -- formerly was a pharmaceutical research and development and manufacturing center. AgroFarma also owns Euphrates, a wholesale feta cheese processor in Johnstown, N.Y.