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Yakult Light probiotic drink makes US debut

By Elaine WATSON , 02-Aug-2012

Japanese probiotics pioneer Yakult has launched a light version of its fermented dairy drink in the US.

Yakult Light contains stevia-based natural sweetener Reb-A and has about 40% fewer calories than regular Yakult.

Yakult in the USA

US consumers now drink around 142,000 bottles of Yakult a day, 24% more than this time last year.

While Yakult USA still remains a relatively small player in Yakult's global probiotics empire, it is a key area of focus for the firm, which will open its first US factory in Fountain Valley, California, in the fall of 2013.

The factory is a short drive from Yakult USA’s HQ in Torrance, CA, and will supply stores in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico (which are currently supplied by its factory in Guadalajara, Mexico), but will also provide a platform for expansion into new regions.

Probiotic supplement sales up 10% in 12 weeks to July 8 in FDMx channel

According to Schiff Nutrition chief finance officer Joseph Baty, IRI data for food, drug and mass merchandise retail channels in the US (excluding Walmart) show that sales of probiotics supplements rose 10% in the 12 weeks to July 8. (Click here for more details).

Market researcher Euromonitor International, meanwhile, says per capita spending on probiotic supplements in the US is forecast to almost double over the next five years.

Speaking at Pre-& Probiotics 2012, a virtual conference and expo organized by NutraIngredients-USA and NutraIngredients earlier this year, Euromonitor International head of health and wellness research Ewa Hudson said: “Here in the US, per capita spending on probiotic supplements is expected to nearly double by 2016 and overtake Japan.”

For yogurt, she said, the majority of growth is coming from emerging markets, particularly Brazil and China.

However, there is also strong growth in the US in yogurts as well as supplements.

 

 

 

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