Yakult and lactobacillus casei

Yakult (ヤクルト) is the name of the first company in the world that commercialized products with “Lactobacillus Casei”. It was during 1935 (Much much before Danone made their L.Casei products popular in Europe and USA) when a Japanese scientist called Shirota discoverd the “L. casei Shirota” and created a company that would become the current Yakult. Yakult is NOT a yogurt company, is a bacteria company. Their business is based on finding new applications and new bacterias and they commercialize their findings as drinks, cosmetics and drugs. They also have a baseball team.

In Europe many yogurt companies try to sell products with Lactobacillus casei suggesting that are modified healthy yogurts, but those are NOT really yogurts (The definition of yogurt says that it has to contain Stretococcus thermophilus or Lactobacillus bulgaricus). In Japan the market is more defined, clear and mature, there are the yogurts and there are the probiotic drinks.

The main Yakult drink is the “Yakult”, it comes in a little bottle with a pretty retro design, it seems that the bottle never changed since the 70s. I love the standard “Yakult”, it has a pretty soft-acid flavor.


Pack típico de 5 Yakults.

In the western countries we had a nice life during decades without Lactobacillus casei while in Japan they drank Yakult. It was until Danone brought the idea of selling L.Casei bacteria. It’s ok, but it’s interesting/curious seeing how big companies create new necessities so the consumers would buy their products. Japanese children from the 70-80s drank Yakult and milk everyday. European children drank milk and we were very happy without ingesting L.Caseis. Nowadays, after the Danone CMs brainwash, European and USA kids are also drinking Actimel or similar drinks everyday.

Yakult has a pretty powerful brand image in Japan, their name is a synonym of “probiotic drink”. There are other brands selling similar drinks with different varieties of L.Casei. Yakult is also available in Great Britain, Taiwan, China, Philippines, USA, Mexico and Korea.

And interesting phenomenon related with Yakult are the “Yakult obaasan” (Yakult aunties) who are Yakult delivery old women who usually use bikes to do their job; instead of milk delivery, Yakult delivery!

“Yakult obaasan” delivering Yakult in the morning.


  • alafista

    September 22, 2007 at 5:04 am

    Oh i drink it everyday. I order it from a lady that delivers it to my house every week

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  • sheerblade

    September 22, 2007 at 10:36 am

    All I drink is milk, I’ve yet to have anything like yogurt or anything with live cultures in them.

  • Marcus Carvalho

    September 22, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Yakult is also available in Brazil.

  • Mad N1nja

    September 23, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    I live in the US right now. There are imitations, but they taste like plasic. I have to wait every few months to go to Chicago to buy real Yakult.

    I stock up what the experation date allow me to. I love Yakult! But the one they import in the US are from Mexico, and it just don’t taste the same as the on I used to have in Hong Kong.

  • tonepoet

    May 2, 2008 at 1:19 am

    They have a similar thing in Korea. I live in Alaska now (with my Korean wife) and we get this at the market. My 2 year old son loves this stuff.

  • rakareksapati

    July 28, 2008 at 8:30 am

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  • DiceK

    February 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Its not yakult, but they have something like that in the United States.

    Basically the Dannon company made a drinking yogurt with L. casei called, Danactive.
    The taste isnt like yakult, more like sweet yogurt.


  • Apple Otaku

    February 8, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I like the taste of Yakult. I only wish the portions were bigger. Maybe make one the size of a Redbull can?

  • Mario

    March 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I used to drink that all the time when I was a kid in Mexico. I loved it, and always drank at least one a day. I never knew what it was though until now.

  • BCloud

    April 25, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Yakult is also available here in Argentina. In some supermarkets and also home delivered. I had no idea this was Japanese product.

    I tried it a few times, incorrectly thinking it was a pro biotic yogurt (now I know) and I didn’t really like it. Too acid for my taste.

    I probably should try it again, now that I know what it is. 😛

  • garturo62

    May 12, 2009 at 11:09 am

    i bought this is mexico and it taste good didnt know it was japanese.

  • paul

    December 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    i buy this a lot but i wished that they had it in a bigger bottle

  • Jeoman

    January 5, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Why dont’t they make it bigger size or have many flavor?
    Yakult ‘s fan from Thailand

  • Jorge Perez

    March 8, 2010 at 9:05 am

    It´s very popular in Brazil as well…everyone knows it…. there´s a old lady on my suburb that goes around with her little trolly selling it from door to door… shes been around for like 20 years.

  • silo

    October 15, 2010 at 7:24 am

    i live in SA and i have ner tasted the Yakult. i would love to tast it

  • silo

    October 15, 2010 at 7:26 am

    wow!!!! i love their product. it taste better than the yogi they sell here at this bio lab………

  • Michalec

    November 5, 2010 at 8:28 am

    I visit often Thailand & Philippines. The size of Yakult is much, much bigger & it’s real cheaper, more affordable comparatively to Europe, in France or Germany. Between us, I hope that someone will make competition to yakult in Europe because their price policy is a shame for all consumers. It’s probably orchestrated by greedy Yakult Netherlands.

  • yumi

    November 10, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    HI. im Japanese, living in Macau now. Yakult, the taste is very stable and exactly same in Hong Kong nad Macau too. what i found out last week was.,,,blue package!! seems a “light taste” or less fat. that was also tasty.

  • thesoulofjapan

    December 20, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I see them around my neighborhood too. I love these obasaans.

  • Mike

    September 4, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Oh, I always assumed Yakult was from Denmark or somewhere, the name sounded “continental” to me XD. I suppose it’s one of those put-together Japanese words like Combini or Pasokon