Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Plans afoot to launch probiotic milk drink Yakult in Asansol, Durgapur
Tuesday, 12 September, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Yakult, the probiotic fermented milk drink brand, already enjoys a very good retail presence in Kolkata. The company’s plan is to now launch it in other cities in West Bengal, such as Asansol, Chunchura, Durgapur and Burdwan. We intend to increase our retail presence in the coming years,” he added.

This was stated by Minoru Shimada, managing director, Yakult Danone India Pvt Ltd, at an interactive session, where the goodness and benefits of the product were discussed.

Yakult’s new brand ambassador, Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, has been instrumental in spreading awareness about the health benefits of Yakult.

The company has been doing a host of promotional activities to propagate the use of Yakult in daily life.

It is manufactured at its state-of-the-art facility in Sonepat and operates through the retail route.

Indian market challenging
Shimada stated, “India is a challenging market for Yakult Danone, because of the limited awareness about the benefits of probiotics.”

The company’s focus has, therefore, been on education, and it is pleased to see that more and more Indian consumers are making Yakult a part of their daily diet for its health benefits.

“Probiotic benefits are strain-specific, and Yakult has a unique strain of bacteria that can help strengthen your digestive system and build immunity when consumed regularly,” Shimada said.

“Its bacteria has also been tested for their ability to reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially breast, colorectal and bladder cancer,” he added.

Intestinal health neglected
Intestinal health is crucial in determining one’s state of well-being, because approximately 70 per cent of the body’s immunity is found there. Yet, most people tend to neglect it.

This was stated at the briefing by Neerja Hajela, general manager, Yakult Danone India Pvt Ltd.

Poor intestinal health results in diarrhoea, constipation and digestive disorders. Owing to the fluctuation in temperature and humidity, the weather in Kolkata is a  breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, resulting in intestinal disorders. Keeping the intestine healthy with probiotics can be one way of reducing the risk of diseases.

Probiotics and disease prevention

Probiotics, which mean for life, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and increase the number of beneficial bacteria.

This results in improved nutrient absorption and better bowel movement, which prevents common digestive disorders.

Probiotics play an important role in the development of the immune system and protect us from infection. Some of them also produce vitamins like Vitamin B and K and can help overcome nutrient deficiencies.

Reiterating the scientific heritage of Yakult, Hajela said, “Yakult has been validated for its safety and efficacy by more than 100 human trials which have been conducted in different parts of the world.”

“A study was conducted in India as well by the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases on about 4,000 children under the age of five,” she added.

The results of the study demonstrated a reduction of 14 per cent in the incidence of diarrhoea in children who consumed Yakult for 12 weeks. This study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and Infection in 2011 (Sur D et al (2011) Epidemiology and Infection 139: 919-926).

Shimada remarked, “The concept of foods for reducing the risk of diseases was introduced in Japan in the early 1900s, when Japan was an economically weak country and people were dying due to disease and infection.”

“These foods were called functional foods, and focused on the prevention of diseases rather than on their treatment,” he added.

“The company’s founder, Minoru Shirota, microbiologist from Kyoto University, Japan, believed that a healthy intestine was key to a long, disease-free life,” Shimada stated.

“He successfully isolated a probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS), that significantly improved intestinal health and immunity. He introduced it in a fermented milk drink called Yakult, which was launched in Japan in 1935,” he added.

“The introduction of Yakult was very useful in improving the health of people in Japan, who were suffering from diarrhea, dysentery and other infectious diseases,” Shimada said.

“Currently, more than 3.5 crore bottles of Yakult are being consumed every day in 38 countries and regions. Yakult is the most iconic brand in Japan, China and Indonesia,” he added.
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