Mr Hideki Maruyama from the public relations department at Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., told NutraIngredients-Asia: “The probiotics market in the United States is growing annually, with all kinds of companies launching new products containing probiotics such as dairy products and supplements.”
Both regular Yakult and reduced calorie Yakult Light will be available in an additional 15 states.
“We are expanding sales to 15 states in the Eastern USA because it’s an area with a high population density and a number of promising markets.”
Bottle sales in the US for the period from January to June 2019 averaged 373,000 units per day, up 11.9% compared to the same period last year.
The products are sold in packs of five with a retail price of US$2.99 per pack, each bottle is 80 ml. They are available at major chains such as Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, and Albertsons stores as well as Asian and Hispanic markets.
Previously, they were available in 35 states primarily in the West, Midwest, and South.
“Looking at the yoghurt drink market nationally, the scale of the market on the East Coast is larger than that of the West Coast, so we have high expectations for our full-scale expansion to the East Coast.”
In addition to US and Japan, Yakult’s products are also available in 40 countries including China, UK, the European Union and South East Asia.
In early August, Yakult opened its US$47 million factory in Myanmar.
What consumers want
The company said consumer knowledge of probiotics was increasing.
“We see health conscious consumers will check the product contents and nutrition information when making purchases.
“We also find an increasing number of people checking the type of probiotic strain and bacteria count in the product.”
Yakult’s drink contains the probiotic lactobacillus casei strain shirota.