According to its latest figures, in 2015, US consumers drank - on average - 229,000 bottles a day of Yakult (a fermented milk drink packed with probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei Shirota), compared with 198,000/day in 2014, a 16% increase.
While this is small fry compared with the 5.3 million bottles a day Yakult sells in China, for example, the North American market is a key area of focus for the Japanese company, which opened a factory in Fountain Valley, California in 2014.
Studies conducted using Yakult’s proprietary probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei Shirota suggest it could potentially confer a wide range of health benefits from helping to strengthen the immune system and tackle GI tract conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
However, claims made on pack in the US remain pretty generic right now: ‘Drinking one or two bottle daily may balance your digestive system and maintain overall health.’
Each 2.7oz (80ml) bottle of regular Yakult contains water, sugar, skim milk powder, glucose, natural flavors and Lactobacillus casei Shirota and has 50 calories. The 'Light' version is sweetened with Reb-A (stevia) as well as sugar and has 30 calories per bottle.