ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Warabeya Nichiyo Holdings, a Japanese producer of ready-to-eat food, will spend $81.5 million to build its third plant in the continental U.S., reports Nikkei Asia.
In 2017, Warabeya opened its first continental U.S. plant in Texas. The company is building its second factory in the state of Virginia, slated to launch later this year.
Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd., the parent company of 7-Eleven Inc., is the largest shareholder in Warabeya Nichiyo Holdings. In a statement, Warabeya said “the group has decided to construct a new plant in the area around Ohio, and supply products to 7-Eleven and Speedway stores in the area.”
The new single-story plant will have a floor area of around 140,000 square feet, cost around $81.5 million to build, and will supply about 2,500 stores, 1,000 of which are Speedway branded.
Warabeya has been supplying Hawaiian 7-Eleven stores since 1982. An article in Honolulu Magazine in 2021 described the appeal of the food at the retailer’s Hawaii locations: “Everyone has their favorite 7-Eleven food: For one friend … it’s the shrimp pork hash that reminds her of her childhood manapua truck. For another, it’s the fried chicken musubi. … A farmer’s guilty pleasure is the ingeniously cellophane-sheathed tuna sushi that you roll in the still-crisp nori. And of course, there’s the ever-popular Spam musubi—7-Eleven Hawaii sells 14,000 every day, requiring a pallet’s worth (2,000 cans) of Spam.”
Masatoshi Ito, who brought 7-Eleven to Japan and led the company that eventually bought the convenience retailer, passed away earlier this month.