Globally, the firm is known for its fermented probiotic milk beverage, but in its home market, its consumer products include yoghurt, soymilk, juice, sports drink, noodles as well as kale, multivitamin and mineral, glucosamine, collagen, DHA and EPA supplements.
The new probiotic product is available in powder form, and each sachet contains more than 100 million of each probiotic strain. Others ingredients include maltodextrin, potato starch and corn starch.
Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota has been studied for its effect on gut health, cognitive benefits, relieving constipation, and reducing inflammation. On the other hand, Bifidobacterium breve strain Yakult has studies on immunity and skin health.
Hideki Maruyama, from Yakult Honsha’s public relations department, told NutraIngredients-Asia that convenience was the key driver for the new product.
“We launched this product because we wanted people to be able to consume our probiotics in situations where it is difficult for them to consume our dairy products,” Maruyama said. Its dairy probiotics products such as milk, yoghurts, and juices must be kept refrigerated.
“We are targeting people who do a lot of travel and business trips,” he added.
The multi-probiotic supplement can be stored one year from the manufacturing date, kept at room temperature. Maruyama told us the CFU number is guaranteed until its best by date.
The firm started initial sales through Amazon Japan.
“In order to convey the features of the product and sell it effectively, we believed that e-commerce would be the best platform, and chose Amazon, the largest e-commerce retailer, as they had the most suitable sales conditions.”
Maruyama said the firm would next like to gauge customers response through a survey or other means. The firm declined to comment on sales figures.
The company does not intend to expand into other online or offline channels yet, “but it is something that we will decide based on the sales situation hereafter. We will focus on sales through Amazon for now, and will decide any further sales based on the sales situation of the product,” Maruyama added.
The supplement is packed in an aluminium stick (1g/stick). A box of 15 sticks retail at JPY2,500 (US$22.90) excluding tax.