Orange County Economic Development

Morinaga Breaks Ground

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.

This significant project was managed by the Orange County Economic Development Department and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, resulting in Morinaga’s purchase of a 21-acre site for its initial Hi-Chew candy production facility.  The building will be a state-of-the-art, clean USDA-spec facility, constructed by the InSpec Group.

Morinaga America Foods, Inc. will hire approximately 90 employees in the first three years, and invest up to $48 million in this Orange County operation.  The County’s water and sewer improvements to the site will be significantly reimbursed by a Community Development Block Grant awarded by the State of North Carolina.

The parent company, Morinaga & Co., Ltd. was founded 115 years ago in Tokyo, Japan.  With $1.75 billion in global sales, it has become a major international confectionary and candy maker.  Morinaga 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.  Japan is currently the world’s second largest candy market, following the United States.