JAPAN – Fresh Del Monte Japan, a subsidiary of Fresh Del Monte Produce, has officially began operations in its newly constructed US$19 million plant in Yokohama, Japan with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tons of fruits and vegetables.

Fresh Del Monte Produce broke ground on the US$19 million facility last year. The company says that the new facility is built in stringent hygiene protocols and a cutting-edge low-temperature air condition management system to maintain product quality and freshness.

Fresh Del Monte said that the new state-of-the-art fresh cut facility will serve as a manufacturing base that satisfies the increasing need for ready-to-eat fresh and convenient fruits, salads and vegetables across Japan.

“We identified a significant growth in demand for fresh and high-quality produce across Japan,” said Youssef Zakharia, President & Chief Operating Officer of Fresh Del Monte Produce.

“Today, more than ever, our consumers are looking for fresh ready-to-eat options. Our plant in Yokohama will maximize our wide range of products, driving growth and innovation in our fresh-cut segment.”

According to the company, the plant will focus heavily on the Tokyo metropolitan area, which boasts a population of more than 37 million (a market roughly the size of all of California) and represents the second largest GDP of any city in the world.

“This is a milestone event for Fresh Del Monte Japan,” said Kunihiko Katayama, General Manager of Fresh Del Monte Japan Co., Ltd.

“We have worked extensively on this project and considered every detail behind our state-of-the-art fresh cut facility. It is exciting to finally see our work come to fruition as we continue to supply our customers with fresh and ready-to-eat produce.”

The opening is part of Fresh Del Monte’s aggressive growth strategy, that aims to maintain its leadership in the fresh cut segment. The company recently appointed Elana Gold as the its new Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) aimed at delivering long-term and sustainable business growth for the iconic brand.

The company reported net sales for the first quarter of 2020 of US$1.118 billion, compared with US$1.154 billion in the first quarter of 2019. The decrease in net sales was attributable to lower net sales in all of the company’s business segments as a result of headwinds created by the COVID-19 pandemic.