Day 138: Yakult

Sure, this macrobiotic milk drink is made in Japan. And apparently it is available in the U.S., though I’d never seen it.

But the reason I tried it yesterday, Day 138 of my Brazilian experiment, is because my student told me about how popular it is in Brazil (and my Brazilian husband confirmed that it is very “Brazilian” for those of you who might debate it – you know who you are…)

It also has an interesting history here in Brazil from a business perspective, again, told by my students as well as a little research I did. Yakult’s main means of distribution was direct sales (you know, like Avon) and their target Yakult contractors were women. For about a decade, this method of marketing made up 65% of sales in Brazil. Women would come from the country-side and load up on the drink, and then sell, literally, door-to-door in their towns.

I bought my Yakult in a package of 80g bottles. It is very sweet but is supposed to be good for digestion and has a yogurty taste. Not bad. But with all the new yogurt products on the market that aid digestion, without the intense sugar content, I wonder how long Yakult, in this format, will survive.

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22 Responses to Day 138: Yakult

  1. Mereddith says:

    I used to drink it in the States where it’s only 88 cents for 5 bottles at Walmart. It’s expensive here so I haven’t bothered. I might as well just drink yogurt (which I do).

  2. Karina says:

    Here in my town (São Bernardo do Campo) we still buy them from the lady who sells door-to-door. My mother started drinking it during my pregnancy (36 years ago) and we still have it at home. The lady sells not only Yakult, but some other products from the company, they have a lot of soy-based products. While living in El Paso (Tx) sometimes I would buy it at Walmart. There is also a Nestlé version of it, Chamyto.
    I think Yakult is that kind of product that is part of your childhood, so it’s not about digestion, or price, or anything, it’s just Yakult :). On orkut there is a community called; “Nós queremos Yakult de 2 litros”. :).

  3. Careful – Sophia will get addicted if you let her drink them 🙂 Also, Yakult has a baseball field outside Sao Paulo that is very nice. The Brazilian national baseball team plays there and some Japanese baseball club. The American Society has a baseball tournament out there every year as well 🙂

    • I’ve given her a couple (bought a packet of five or so). I can see how it can get addicting with all the sugar! Very cool that there is a baseball field here – will have to check it out.

  4. Jenner says:

    Yakult is nowadays a Brazilian tradition very popular among Japanese descendants.
    As a faithful reader of your blog, I’m waiting for a followup in your teaching experience.
    Best regards from the one that knows who he is…

  5. Alex says:

    Sorry if I sound like a hater, but I freaking hate this stuff. I bought it in an Asian market a few towns over and wanted to puke. ew ew ew ew.

    It’s the only thing that’s popular in Brazil that I’ve hated!

  6. Ray says:

    B.A.B,

    We were raised on the stuff! We waited at the window every Wednesday afternoons when the “Yakult” lady came by! I am a native of Sao Bernardo do Campo, a town just ouside of Sao Paulo where the Brazilian headquarters of Yakult is located. When you drive to the beach, if you ever take Via Anchieta Highway, look to your right side, as soon as you pass thru the first Tool Plaza. Yakult is up on a hill, with a small pond in the front and they have several “fake” cows on decorating their front lawn. It is “LEGENDARY” in Brazil. It is a HUGE part of being Brazilian.
    But, please have your daughter brush her teeth right after drinking it. My sisters are dentist and tell me the stuff is like acid on your teeth, you guessed it right, the sugar content is absurd, that is probably why we all love it like a drug. 😉

    Ray

  7. anna says:

    I dont like it. but many brazilians do drink it , its popular.
    you can find in mainstream supermarkets in Europe too.

  8. Anoonnnn says:

    You can only drink one per day , if you mention to anyone in Brazil that you had more than 1 yakult per day they will stare at your face like you committed a crime.

  9. scrubgrub says:

    I love Yakult, but that’s the Hawaii/Japanese side of me, so I was happy to see it sooo popular here. In fact, I have a recipe for making the Pinkberry frozen yogurt at home, that’s pretty much greek (or strained thick –non Brasilian style) yogurt and Yakult.. http://scrubgrub.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/pinkahemcrackahemberry/

  10. Ana says:

    Yakult will never ever disappear on brazil… Its part of brazilian’s childhood, its more concentrated than just regular yogurt (diet yogurt)…Its nostalgic. Other companies (like danone) have their Yakult copycat, it doesn’t sell as much as the original one, for sure…

  11. Francisco says:

    the Yakult released very long to live and really something very traditional in Brasil.Maioria Brazilians take the product by taste just like drinking soda and its medicinal effects being irrelevant.
    Signed Brazilian in France this reading with Goglle translator and wrote the message in the same way.

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