Saturday, October 22, 2016

14 points that might change your mind about Yakult

Yakult is a health and wellness MLM with a fermented probiotic yogurt drink that’s made with skim milk and a special strain of bacteria grown from the original mother strain in Japan.

Probiotics have been a hot topic recently in the health space, to say the least. Does this mean I’m involved?

This video explains everything:

Make sense? Either way, here’s 14 points that might change your mind about Yakult.

#14. All about those probiotics

They have varying sizes for their yogurt drink, some additional beverages, and now even a cosmetics line that uses the same strain of bacteria. Nothing like waking up and slathering your face with bacteria.

#13. Old and established Japanese company

The drink was created in 1930 and first manufactured and sold in Japan and Taiwan in 1935.

Eventually, they expanded to Brazil in 1966 due to the large population of Japanese immigrants. Now they’re marketed and sold all over the globe.

#12. Science backed product

The yogurt drink was created by a Japanese microbiologist from Kyoto University named Minoru Shirota.

He was the first person in the world to culture a strain of lactic acid bacterial that benefits human health, destroying harmful bacteria in the intestines, and the bacteria strain was named shirota, after him.

The man is pretty accomplished. He’s even helping to develop a chemotherapy drug called Irinotecan now. [1]

#11. Very unique distribution system

They still run on a home delivery model, carried out by their smiling, uniformed “Yakult ladies” on bicycles.

While this door-to-door method has fallen by the wayside in the States and this kind of model would probably tank immediately, it’s working well in countries like Japan, Singapore, and Myanmar where Yakult operates, primarily in rural areas.

In many countries, especially in rural areas that aren’t well connected to shopping malls and don’t see advertisements everywhere, door-to-door sales is actually considered more of a convenience than an annoyance. Also, selling to consumers in person builds a trust and develops a relationship that virtual sales can never match.

Plus, with other MLMs, all users have to do to cancel their monthly auto-ships is click a few boxes on a computer screen. With Yakult, families have to tell their friendly local Yakult lady that they want to cancel their monthly delivery to her face, which is much harder.

And Yakult has the numbers to show that it works.

#10. Huge global company

Yakult earns an annual revenue of $3 billion with over 30 million in sales every single day.


They operate in 33 countries around the globe. [2]

#9. Distributors are all women

As you might have guessed from the term “Yakult ladies”, they have an all-female Salesforce of over 80,000 distributors around the world. 40,000 are in Japan. [3]

They’ve been known throughout Asia for years as the best source of flexible employment for stay at home moms.

#8. Grassroots education

The “Yakult ladies” aren’t just delivery women, though.

Yakult was a probiotic drink pioneer. They’ve been around way, way longer than the probiotic craze, so people had no idea what priobiotic drinks were or how they could benefit health. In many rural areas, they still don’t.

Yakult ladies also go door-to-door providing grassroots education on the benefits of probiotics to rural communities. Through this education, families eventually decide to start purchasing the drink. [4]

It was more effective than traditional marketing because Yakult ladies were members of the communities in which they marketed and sold. Because of that, they understood local customs and culture, and the people trusted them in return. [5]

#7. Limited global expansion

Although Yakult has expanded enormously in Asia, Brazil, and now Australia, their growth is limited in other parts of the world.


Door-to-door sales is dead in the United States, and not as effective in big cities globally. However, they do sell direct-to-consumer in the U.S. now, in retail stores across Western, Southern, and Midwestern states, which could prove successful. [6]

In Europe, they aren’t even legally allowed to make health claims about probiotic drinks, so their marketing is limited pretty severely. [7]

But still, their markets are primarily in Asia, Oceana, and Brazil/Mexico. That being said, they’re doing great in those areas. [8]

#6. All-star sponsorships

They actually own one of Tokyo’s major baseball franchises, the Yakult Swallows.

They’re also a partner of the FINA World Aquatics Championships where they sponsor their own relay challenge and use major swimming stars to promote their name. If Michael Phelps said a health drink works, people would be buying it in droves. [9]

#5. High in sugar

While there are some claims to back up the benefits of the bacteria found in Yakult, it also contains 14g of sugar for every 100g, with is considered high by the UK Food Standards Agency. It’s more sugar per 100g than Coca-Cola.

That being said, the serving size is very small – bottles vary in sizes but usually contain around 8-11 grams of sugar. There’s no fat, cholesterol, preservatives, gluten, or high fructose corn syrup. [10]

#4. Very affordable

Given their business model of marketing to rural families, they can’t be too expensive.

The drink comes in 65 mL bottles, and packs of 7 cost $3.50. They’re actually way cheaper than probiotic supplements. [11]

#3. Benefits of probiotics are limited

Although they make a lot of health claims, and some of them are actually tested, the tests are based on a daily consumption of 40-100 billions of probiotic shirota. One bottle of Yakult only offers about 6.5 billion shirota. [12] [13]

A test in 2014 by the University College London found that Yakult did contain sufficient bacteria, but they were unable to survive in the stomach, basically eliminating any benefit they could produce. [14] However, the study was done with pigs rather than humans, who have entirely different digestive systems. [15]

What’s more, the U.S. courts have ruled twice against class action suits claiming that Yakult is falsely advertising the benefits of its drinks. Not that our judicial system is flawless, but that stands for something, right? [16]

#2. New campaign pokes fun at natural healing

New age remedies are everywhere in MLM. Just about every health and wellness company in this industry has a product based on some magical, all-natural plant or fruit that heals everything (like Kyani).

Yakult’s new campaign pokes fun at these shakra-loving yoga pants wearing earth goddesses with a clever new campaign that champions their roots in science. [17]

#1. Good compensation…in the past

Ladies are paid commission on sales that is reported at 23%. It’s not great, but could be for some of the countries they operate in.

If their distributors don’t sell all the product they receive, however, they have to pay for the remainder themselves. Products are highly perishable, so they can’t just be stockpiled if they don’t sell.

According to one Yakult lady, the offer used to be a fantastic deal for women, at least in South Korea. But now? Maybe not so much.

“There were hardly any day care centers then, and I could carry my baby around on the electric cart while I was working. My house was in my section, my sales area, so I could take a break and make dinner for my kids—there were no other jobs like that. There were so many applicants at that time that they only hired high school graduates, they looked carefully at your character and were picky. It was the most money you could make while also keeping an eye on your kids. [In the late 80s,] 260-270,000 won per month was pretty good money. It was quite a good job – then.” [18]

However, it is completely free to become a distributor.


Probiotics in general have been trending in the health space for a while. And the company has a huge global presence. But is there really an income opportunity here? It’s possible…

While I’m not a hater of the company, I have turned away from the MLM industry. There are much better ways out there to create a passive income that don’t require selling products to family and friends.

Click here and learn how you can build a real, value driven business that doesn’t involve the old fashioned MLM ways.


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