- Warabeya Nichiyo Holdings, a longtime Seven & i supplier that provides ready-to-eat foods, intends to open a third production facility in the U.S., according to a Wednesday announcement.
- The planned 140,000-square-foot, $81.5 million plant will be located somewhere in or around Ohio, joining existing locations in Hawaii and Texas. It is slated to open in December 2024.
- The facility is expected to provide packaged foods to about 2,500 7-Eleven and Speedway stores in the Midwest.
This move comes less than a month after Seven & i Holdings, the parent company of 7-Eleven Inc., announced that it would be putting more emphasis on food offerings in its North American stores.
“In the U.S. there are higher expectations for [convenience stores] to meet demand for fresh and healthy food,” wrote Seven & i in a March business update.
The new locations should make it quicker and cheaper to supply Warabeya Nichiyo products to the c-store chain’s Midwestern stores.
The new one-story location will be under Warabeya Nichiyo’s “Warabeya Texas” subsidiary, which will be renamed to “Warabeya North America” on April 1. This division makes items such as burritos, sandwiches and light prepackaged meals for 7-Eleven Inc. The new facility is expected to produce light meals and bread products.
This move first emerged in October when Warabeya Nichiyo noted in a financial results briefing that it intended to bolster its food production business in the U.S. as an avenue to medium-term growth.
The company’s other U.S. subsidiary, Warabeya U.S.A., is based in Hawaii and produces ready-to-eat bread- and rice-based foods for 7-Eleven as well as its own stores.
The original expansion of Warabeya Nichiyo into the mainland U.S. in 2017 was an early step in the company’s long-term food improvement plans, focused on making items to suit U.S. tastes.
“New products from this initiative are already available in Texas, and they are garnering positive reviews from our customers, store operators and franchisees, and raising customer expectations,” said Joseph Michael DePinto, president and CEO of 7-Eleven Inc., in a video from late 2022 on Seven & i’s food initiatives.
7-Eleven has over 79,000 stores across 20 countries, including over 20,000 in Japan and 13,000 in the U.S.