Yakult opens giant Cali factory

A new California probiotics factory’s evidence of American’s growing thirst for drinkable bugs.

The first buggy bottles cranked off the lines of the brand new Yakult factory in Fountain Valley California this week. The 76,800 square foot facility will produce 400,000 bottles a day, according to Drinks Business Review.

The factory’s opening “represents a substantial shift in how the Japanese company approaches the Western market,” according to FoodDIVE. The company had been making the drinks in Mexico, and importing them north, but there’s been so much growth in demand for the product in the States, that a dedicated American supply base was needed. U.S. sales rose 112.6 percent over the last year, to 182,000 bottles a day.

Yakult drinks are sold in more than 30 countries, with global consumption of about 30 million bottles a day, according to the company, according to the Orange County Business Journal.

Lifeway Foods, the maker of Kefir, the dominant brand in the drinkable probiotics in the U.S. said its sales jumped 20 percent. Net sales rose to $21.9 million in the first quarter, according to FoodDIVE, as Americans continue to slurp up more and more healthy bugs. The company launched veggie, oat-enriched and stevia-sweetened varieties of kefir at Natural Products Expo West.

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