Orange County Economic Development

Erecting concrete tilt wall – October 3, 2014








Morinaga America Foods, Inc.  – Ground Breaking

On June 4, 2014 Governor Pat McCrory, the Orange County Commissioners and the City of Mebane joined Morinaga & Co., Ltd. to break ground for a new 120,000 sq. ft. production facility, located in the City of Mebane.

The ground breaking ceremony held on Thursday, June 5, 2014, off of Ben Wilson Road, was a momentous occasion marking Morinaga’s first production facility outside of Asia.  The company currently operates candy and confectionary production facilities in Japan, Taiwan and China, with sales offices throughout the world.

Guest speakers included:  Governor Pat McCrory; Chairman Gota Morinaga; Mr. Toshiaki Fukunaga, President of Morinaga America Foods, Inc.; Board of County Commissioners Chair Barry Jacobs; City of Mebane Mayor Glendel Stephenson; and Kazuo Sunaga, Consul General of Japan in Atlanta.






News coverage of groundbreaking ceremony (view Gallery for additional photos)



Morinaga America Foods, Inc.          

On September 4, 2013 Orange County announced the successful recruitment of Japanese  manufacturer Morinaga & Co., Ltd., and its U.S.A. subsidiary Morinaga  America, Inc.The  confectionary and candy maker has selected a manufacturing site in the Buckhorn  Economic Development District for the firm’s first American manufacturing  operation. Morinaga manufactures the  fruit-flavored chewable snack called Hi-Chew, which is the top seller in Japan.The  company will invest $48 million in a new, state-of-the-art 120,000 sq. ft.  clean USDA-spec manufacturing facility, creating 90 jobs with health and  retirement benefits for local residents to be employed by the Company. These  jobs will be created over three years, offering competitive salaries with an  average of more than $38,000 a year.The Orange County Board of County  Commissioners’(BOCC) commitment to preparing the County’s Economic Development  Zones with utilities, zoning, incentives, and strategic use of the quarter cent  sales tax for economic development, played a pivotal role in recruiting Morinaga & Co.,  Ltd.“We are pleased and humbled that the good  people of Morinaga and Company have decided to locate their American  headquarters in Orange County,” said BOCC Chair Barry Jacobs. “We look forward  to a long and prosperous partnership. We are grateful for this affirmation of  our efforts to bring quality jobs and good corporate citizens to our community.”The City of Mebane and the State of North  Carolina are among several key players in securing the commitment from the  Japanese candy maker. The City of Mebane has partnered with the County to  support the vision for the Buckhorn Economic Development District. The project  also includes involvement by Durham Technical Community College and the site  selection consultant InSpec Group.“The  addition of this well respected company to our business base will enhance our  ability to attract other top tier companies to Orange County,” said BOCC Vice  Chair Earl McKee.The County also  recognizes the State’s role in recruiting Morinaga, specifically Governor  McCrory, Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker, NC Department of Commerce, NC  Department of Transportation, and the NC Community Colleges System.

“A comprehensive set of incentive offers were  used to recruit Morinaga to Orange County, including performance grants from  the County and City of Mebane, State incentives, NCDOT road access, and  assistance and technical training of Morinaga’s new employees at the  Hillsborough campus of Durham Technical Community College,” said County Manager  Frank Clifton.  “Morinaga’s decision to  select Orange County is contingent upon the successful negotiation of these  items with the State, County and City of Mebane.”

The County’s proposed incentives to Morinaga  will be discussed at a Public Hearing and approved at a regular meeting of the  County Commissioners to be scheduled later this fall.


About  Morinaga & Co.

Morinaga & Co., which was founded 114  years ago in 1899 in Tokyo, Japan, is a major international confectionary &  candy maker.  With $1.75 billion in  global sales revenue comprised of 53% in chocolates, caramel & biscuits,  19% in ice cream & frozen foodstuffs, 16% in health products, and 12% in  cocoa/cake mix foodstuffs, the firm is Asia’s equivalent to a Hershey’s, Mars  or Nestle. The Company has more than 40 different product lines and holds the  #1 Japanese domestic market-share for candy. 

About  Morinaga America, Inc. Established in 2008 as a sales company, Morinaga America,  Inc. started distribution of Hi-Chew in the West Coast, such as Los Angeles and  San Francisco, expanded its distribution gradually, and has covered the East  Coast area such as New York.  Morinaga  America, Inc. will complete establishment of distribution network by the end of  March 2014. To tap into growing demand of the product, Morinaga America, Inc.  decided to set up a manufacturing company and purchase a factory site in North  Carolina. Production is expected to start in mid-2015.