Do you know that Singapore is the ONLY country in the world where you can find different flavours of Yakult?
The globally popular probiotic drink Yakult was first manufactured in Japan and introduced to the market in 1935.
Today, it is consumed by people in 40 countries and regions around the world every day. It is Japan’s #1 selling beverage overseas.
With his passion in preventive medicine, founder Dr. Minoru Shirota discovered that lactobacilli were effective in suppressing harmful bacteria within the intestines. Named after him, the Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota is made into a drink by adding billions of it to fermented skim milk solution – a drink we now know as Yakult.
If you’ve been drinking Yakult, you do know it helps maintain a healthy digestive system. But here are 10 things you probably never knew about this well-loved drink:
Singapore is the only country with different flavours of Yakult
The manufacturing process of Yakult is standard for all countries, yet the Yakult available in Singapore has more variety of flavours.
Did you know that it is the only country with grape, orange, and apple flavoured Yakult?
Yes, ONLY Singapore. (This makes me feel special.)
As part of the process, the concentrated Yakult is transferred to a mixing tank where it is diluted with sterilised water, and later proceed to make into different flavours.
Grape is my favourite. How about you?
Different countries have different bottle sizes
The Yakult we now know has its origins in a lab vial, and thus sold in glass bottles during 1935-1967.
In 1968, Japanese designer Isamu Kenmochi was commissioned to design the bottle. Inspired by the Japanese Kokeshi dolls, he created a unique, timeless, practical, and award-winning design.
The plastic (polystyrene) bottles are made by a moulding machine at the speed of 7000 bottles per hour. But did you know that different countries have different bottle sizes?
Yakult comes in size of 65ml bottle in countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, Vietnam and India, while in America, Thailand, South Korea, Philippines and Malaysia, they come in 80ml bottles.
Over in Singapore, serving size for Yakult is 100ml (similar to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong), the ‘biggest’ in the world.
(Click HERE for video of “One day in the life of a Yakult Lady”.)
Yakult engages ladies to sell their products door-to-door to homes and even offices
Yakult distributes its products in 2 ways: direct sales (i.e. supermarkets, shops and convenience stores) and home delivery. This unique door-to-door home delivery system was launched in 1963 by engaging Yakult Ladies.
Yakult Ladies deliver the products personally to people in communities they have deep ties to. They also act as a “regional health advisor” offering info about probiotics. They do these with a smile.
In Japan, there are approx. 34,900 Yakult Ladies (as of March 31, 2018) and approx. 46,600 Yakult Ladies in overseas operations (as of December 31, 2017).
In Singapore, Home Delivery Service started in 1986 and is available free of charge in most public housing estates including some private housing estates.
Thanks to the Yakult Ladies, you and your family can have Yakult conveniently delivered to your home.
In Japan, more types of Yakult are sold for different purposes
Did you know that Japan has a variety of products for different purposes?
As a pioneer in probiotics, Yakult has created many kinds of fermented milk drinks, ie Yakult 400 (40 billion per 80ml bottle), Yakult 400LT (reduced sweetness and fewer calories than Yakult 400), New Yakult (20 billion per 65ml bottle), New Yakult Calorie Half (50% fewer calories than New Yakult), and many more.
Joie (read: Jo-wa) is a fermented milk, with higher calcium and vitamin D content, meant for the small intestine. It comes in 2 different forms – drinkable yoghurt and spoonable yoghurt. Sofuhl is a dessert yogurt containing L. casei strain Shirota, and Sofuhl Genki Yogurt has added iron and calcium. Pretio is for those with high-blood pressure.
For busy people on the go, Mainichi Nomu Yakult (30 billion per 100ml bottle) is ideal with moderate sweetness and zero fat.
It also has a range of drinks with Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult which is meant for the large intestine, including Mil-Mil (12 billion B. breve strain Yakult per 100ml carton) and Mil-Mil S which has galacto-oligosaccharides and dietary fibre.
Yakult Japan also has functional beverages such as energy drinks with Korean ginseng (Toughman series, introduced 1980), drinks that suppresses sugar absorption (Bansoreicha, introduced 1998), and drinks for those with dairy allergies (Yakult no Oishii Hakko Kajitsu, introduced 2018).
They even have a fermented soy milk drink! Yakult no Hakko Tonyu contains L. casei strain Shirota and soy isoflavones in a single product.
The range has expanded to hand soaps, instant noodles and beyond.
Yakult in Japan has also introduced beauty products
Did you know that Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. also creates beauty products? Dr. Shirota discovered that L. casei strain Shirota also play a role in protecting the skin and mucous membranes.
Aside from make-up and basic skin care products, it also produces hair and body care products using original moisturising ingredients.
The company believes that internal/external beauty and good intestinal health help produce a beautiful, healthy skin.
In 2006, the name of Yakult’s brand of cosmetics is changed to Yakult Beautiens.
In Japan, there are approx. 4,760 Yakult Beauty Advisors (as of March 31, 2018) who personally deliver cosmetics to customers. Like the Yakult Ladies, Yakult Beauty Advisors are well-trained in beauty care.
It is part of many Japanese schools to have Yakult for lunch
Did you know that Yakult is a staple part of the Japanese school cafeteria, and students have it for lunch?
They can drink Yakult anytime because it is a foodstuff. Yakult bacteria strain is specially cultured and strengthened biotechnologically to withstand gastric juice and bile acid, to reach our intestines alive. And when they’re alive, that’s when they are powerful.
Unlike junk food with empty calories, Yakult is not fattening since skim milk is used. It contains probiotic, L. casei strain Shirota, that can help in digestion and promote nutrient absorption from food.
It was interesting to watch how Japanese school students distribute lunch on their own (without the help of teachers), so that they learn more about leadership, service, sharing and other important life skills.
Yakult For Kids’ Meals
Talking about the young ones, you can sometimes find Yakult as part of the kids’ menu in Singapore.
Well-known Japanese restaurant chain Ichiban Boshi offers a bottle of Yakult with each of their kids’ meal. Their sets include the Hero (tomato flavoured rice with corn, fried chicken, fried prawn), Turbo Jet (with sweet beancurd sushi, maki sushi, pork sausage, chicken patty) and Vroom Vroom (half udon with seaweed, chicken nuggets, pumpkin croquette).
Over at Korean restaurant Yoogane, a bottle is accompanied with a kids’ set from chicken sausages with scrambled eggs, tuna rice balls with fries, and chicken karaage with fries and butter corn.
There is a “Yakult” Chanpon Restaurant In Tokyo That Offers Free Yakult
Located at the basement of the Yakult Headquarters Building at Shimbashi (which is near Ginza), there is a hidden yet popular Japanese restaurant called “Misato” which many business people and locals head to.
They specialise in Chanpon (sometimes called “Champon”) and other Japanese dishes such as Mixed Fry and Japanese Curry.
Chanpon is a type of ramen noodle dish, cooked by frying slices of meat (usually pork), seafood and loads of vegetables together with pork and chicken bones stock. Priced at 880 Yen here, portions are HUGE.
Interesting to note that Monday is “Yakult Day”, so diners get a FREE bottle.
Needless to say, their unconventional beverage menu is made up of a variety of Yakult drinks from Kininaru Yasai 100 (fruit and vegetable juice), Chosei Tonyu Kokusandaizu Shiyo (soy bean milk), Toughman to Kurozu drinks.
Recycling efforts: Yakult bottles are recycled in Japan, and some countries have removed straws
As a company, Yakult takes its Corporate Social Responsibility programs seriously in accordance with Japan’s Containers and Packaging Recycling Act.
Containers and packaging-related waste generated at Yakult plants and bottling companies is sorted by material, then recycled.
The polystyrene resin recovered from the Yakult plastic bottles are used to manufacture frames for personal computers and audio equipment, rulers, bottle openers, etc. If you join a plant tour in Japan, you may even get one of those rulers or bottle openers as a giveaway!
Over in Singapore, straws have also been removed from the packaging.
Get Yakult Ace Light if you want to enjoy health benefits of probiotics with lower sugar
For those who want health benefits of probiotics but strictly watching their sugar intake, Yakult Ace Light is a good option.
An 80ml bottle of Yakult Ace Light has 30 billion L. casei strain Shirota, is specially made for those who want more good bacteria (it has 3x the amount of a regular Yakult) but want a refreshingly light taste.
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Yakult.