My mother. She lied to me! When I was a wee calf, she told me that drinking more than one bottle of Yakult in a day was bad for me. I believed her and stuck to one bottle a day. See? I was a good little cowlet.
Arriving at the Yakult factory in Laguna, I was quick to ask our tour guide Ms. Bella (no relation to Edward) whether it was true. “No,” she replied. In fact, they drink Yakult by the GLASSFUL there. *gasp* Yakult by the glass? What sort of evil was this?! How many more lies have I been told? It was time to learn the truth about Yakult.
1. Yakult’s bacteria? They’re expats. While manufacturing the actual drink happens in the plant in Laguna, the actual bacteria (Lactobacillus Casei Shirota strain) are propagated in Japan. They’re freeze-dried then shipped here, where they’re gently reanimated into the culture starter.
Lolo and Lola Lactobacilli are probably here.
2. Actually, so is the milk. Yakult uses milk imported from Australia and other milk producing countries. So, if you hear your Yakult bottle go, “G’day mate! Konnichiwa!” at you, you’re not imagining things. (Well, maybe you are.)
3. Yakult’s single-serve sizes are designed for economy. While it varies per country (80ml in the Philippines, 65ml in Australia and 100ml in Japan), it approximates an economical single serve. This mirrors Dr. Minoru Shirota’s vision of making Yakult available to everyone as he believes that good health must be available to all. On a sidenote, Singapore has to be one of the luckier countries in the world. They have the option to buy Flavored Yakult!
4. Aside from keeping costs down, Yakult’s single-serve sizes are also practical. It lessens the chances of contamination as you ingest the serving in one time. With large family sizes, the amount that isn’t finished can be contaminated by other bacteria, causing death to our friendly Lactobacilli which in turn, kills the efficacy of Yakult. You wouldn’t want to kill our widdle friends, do we? At least until we drink them up?
Friendly bacteria from the anime Moyashimon
5. Manufacturing Yakult is super sensitive. That’s why cleanliness and safety are serious business at the plant. One wrong, sloppy move can contaminate the whole batch. When they test the cultured milk in the tanks, it’s all done under fire to prevent cross-contamination. Come on, sing with me now, *falsettos* “Through the fire~~~”
6. Because of its sensitivity, Yakult packaging is made with all virgin material, in a super clean process and environment. The bottles are made in the Philippines, while the foil caps are imported from Korea and Japan. Fortunately, while the process uses new material all the time, the discarded bottles are fully recyclable. Both the plastic and foil can be re-appropriated for manufacturing other things.
7. Remember those Yakult Ladies in the old commercials from the 80s? *sings* “Iyan ang diwa ng Yakult~~~” Apparently, they’re found everywhere in the world! They even have International Conventions in Tokyo, just for the top selling Yakult Ladies. Imagine, getting sent to Japan for selling Yakult. *wonders if she can pull off the Yakult lady uniform*
Imagine a Yakult bottle this big? I can’t wait to get started with it.
8. All the Yakult in the Philippines comes from their factory in Calamba. From a mere 11,500 daily production in the 70s, they now produce 1.6 million bottles a day, which will be upgraded to 2 million bottles once the factory expansion is done. If each bottle has 8 billion Lactobacilli, imagine how many of the little critters are released into the world on a daily basis. ASTOUNDING. They can take over the world, if only they weren’t microscopic. And maybe if they were sentient. And had brains. But if they were, they wouldn’t be living in cultured milk, would they?
Eight bits of trivia, eight billion bacteria. It fits! So, next time you peel open a bottle of Yakult, don’t forget to utter a few words of thanks for the eight billion little critters who live to help fix your intestines. Arigato~