Skip to main content

By P.C. Staff

Japanese probiotic empire Yakult USA started production May 23 at its first American plant in Fountain Valley, Calif., distributing 400,000 bottles each day across the United States.

At first the thought of consuming bacteria isn’t a pleasant one, but Yakult aims to educate people about the benefits of good bacteria. Packed in each small beige bottle of Yakult lives billions of Lactobacillus casei Shirota strands, successfully cultured and ready to build a healthy intestinal tract.

Attendees at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were given tours of the facility’s state-of-the-art plant and welcomed by Hideyuki Shibata, vp of science and public relations, and Michio Shimizu, president and CEO of Yakult USA.

“Seeing this wonderful plant today, I am reminded that it was the right choice to build it here,” said Yoshihiro Kawabata, deputy president and executive officer of Yakult.

Fountain Valley was chosen as the site of Yakult’s first manufacturing plant because sales are concentrated in Southern California. However, Yakult “decided the infrastructure and the location offered worked with future expandability,” Shimizu said.

The plant will allow Yakult to supply its North American market instead of importing its product from Mexico to meet expected future growth.

Currently, the little red bottles reach more than 33 countries, with 7,000 stores in the U.S., including Walmart, carrying the brand. It can take between one to three days for the bottles to reach store shelves from the plant.

Tour routes given at the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be open to the public in July at the Fountain Valley plant. Appointments are required, but everyone is welcome to submit an application and explore the facility.

Originally published on June 6, 2014