According to the company, the new formulation contains vitamins D and E, as well as Yakult's trademark Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS), but is made with less sugar.
Additionally, Yakult Light uses a natural sweetener, steviol glycoside, which does not produce a glycaemic response as the human body cannot metabolise it.
From Japan to India
MD of Yakult Danone India, Minoru Shimada, said at the launch: "Our journey in India has been interesting so far. We see further growth potential in the market for our products.
"Our signature brand Yakult is already a household name and is being consumed by most families as a part of their daily diet. Today, we are present in over 40 cities in 12 states across India.
"To address growing demand, and in line with the needs of the Indian consumer, we are delighted to make our product range more versatile and inclusive by launching Yakult Light to accompany our existing probiotic signature product, Yakult. Yakult Light caters to a broad consumer base, such as health-conscious adults and the elderly."
He further said Yakult Light would be sold in 12 states in retail outlets and through the company's home delivery system.
"We have planned a 360-degree campaign to communicate the key messages of Yakult Light, as well as consumer engagement initiatives at ground level to raise awareness."
Dr Neerja Hajela, Yakult Danone India's GM of science and regulatory affairs, said approximately 70% of Indians face significant health risks due not only to stress, insufficient exercise and poor nutrition, but also poor intestinal condition.
She said the intestine contains around 70% of the human body's immune cells, and as such, is vital in determining one's risk of infection and disease.
She also pointed to recent studies on intestinal microbes that are necessary for digestion, nutrient absorption, immune system maintenance, and essential vitamin production; this makes intestinal balance highly important, and probiotics are widely thought to be essential to this balance.
Hajela said, "Yakult Light contains the same number of the probiotic LcS as the original Yakult and therefore, imparts the same benefit of improved digestion and better immunity.
"The added benefit of vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium, thereby improving and maintaining bone health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals and therefore, slows the process of ageing.
"Yakult Light therefore aims to provide a broad spectrum of health benefits to all age groups. We hope it will offer increased choice to consumers and so, motivate them to make it a part of their daily diet."
This launch follows the Japanese firm's announcement last year that it would increase manufacturing capacity at its Sonepat facility to meet growing demand from Indian consumers.