The heart of good health

Eiji Amano, Managing Director, Yakult Middle East FZCO
Eiji Amano, Managing Director, Yakult Middle East FZCO

The global brand's Middle East Managing Director talks about the multiple benefits and ever-lasting appeal of the world's popular probiotic beverage

Published: Fri 9 Dec 2022, 9:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 9 Dec 2022, 9:53 AM

Yakult is a renowned brand that has captured the attention for all the right reasons. What is the success behind it even if it’s just five years old in the UAE?

Although Yakult is only five years’ old in the UAE, Yakult remains a frontrunner in the probiotic category globally, with 40+ million bottles of Yakult consumed daily in 40 countries and regions across the world.

Two major reasons behind the success in the UAE market — firstly, Yakult is packed with scientific health benefits and secondly, our loyal customers who enjoy its delicious taste. There are so many nationalities in the UAE and Yakult also has been loved by many countries in the past nearly 90 years around the world. I believe those people are enjoying Yakult here like in their home countries. This has achieved a good awareness and fast growth in the UAE.

In the 50 years of UAE-Japan bilateral relationships, what would you say are the key vital areas of progress on trading grounds?

I would say that successful trading requires a lot of hard work and planning. Having the right skills and plan will make you a winner.

Yakult is a healthy probiotic drink, and our mission is to 'contribute to the health of the people around the world,' which means as a healthcare company we can enhance the health of people living here for the next 50 years.

Probiotic Science lies at the heart of Yakult. Please explain in detail.

Yakult is a science base company and when Dr. Minoru Shirota, our Founder, discovered this beneficial bacterium named ‘Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS)’ in 1930. Yakult is a fermented dairy drink that contains probiotic cultures that reach intestine alive to improve digestion and boost immunity.

The core ideas are 'preventive medicine' and 'healthy intestine leads to a long life'. Since then, we have done so many research and studies not only in Japan but also around the world to prove the benefits and explore the possibility of this bacterium, Lactobacillus casei.

There are three types of Yakult sold here in the UAE. Yakult Original (red lids) and Yakult Light (blue lids) are sold at all major hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores across the UAE. Both contain eight billion Lactobacillus casei. Yakult Light is 25 per cent less in calories than Yakult Original and no added sugar. But they both pack the same probiotic power that will help balance your digestive process.

Yakult Gold, a premium version of our iconic probiotic drink, each bottle of this premium fermented milk drink contains 30 billion Lactobacillus casei (approx. four times the number of good bacteria found in Yakult Original and Light) and is packed with Vitamin D.

The UAE is a hub of global brands. What gives Yakult the edge over other similar brands in the market?

Yakult has its long history to have contributed to the health of people around the world and our volume of research is quite abundant by many scientists for a long time. This is a big difference with our competitors who does not have, and of course, Lactobacillus casei is an exclusive bacterium to Yakult only. We will keep working harder to be the best in this region.

Do you see a bigger market for Yakult in the MENA region? And expansion strategy if any?

We are seeing a future growth of probiotic market in MENA region, and we anticipate expanding into other markets with this unique product.

Since our launch in 2017, we have marketed Yakult in five GCC countries so far. Although we had many challenges in each country, we have been successfully marketing Yakult to the region. We are planning to launch in Saudi Arabia soon. Fortunately, we have many inquiries from Saudi Arabia and it is a good timing to enter the biggest market in GCC. After that, we are expanding our presence to nearby countries one by one. I want to foster our brand with the local people together.

Word of advice to health enthusiasts if they haven’t tried Yakult yet.

You are missing out on a lot of health benefits, which you need in your daily life. Did you know that healthy intestines lead to a long life and 80 per cent of our immunity lies in the gut? Make Yakult part of your daily routine to maintain the health of your digestive system and to keep your immunity boosted especially in the winter season.

Anything else that you’d like to add?

I would like to highlight our company’s goal — delivering health and happiness to people worldwide. And I would like to thank all our loyal customers for their purchases and our Yakult Middle East team members who are working hard towards the brand.


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