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Yakult Danone to extend reach, targets health-conscious Tier-1/Tier-2 towns

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on June 20, 2019 Published on June 20, 2019

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With a growing health-conscious urban population, pro-biotic fermented milk drink-maker Yakult Danone India is aggressively increasing its penetration into the Tier-I and -II towns, eyeing a double-digit growth.

The company, a 50-50 JV between global pro-biotic leaders — the Japanese Yakult Honsha and Groupe Danone of France — currently sells about 2.5 lakh bottles per day across 59 cities in the country. It now looks at a lower double-digit growth going forward, as it aims to strengthen its geographical reach and awareness on probiotic bacteria — Lactobacillus casei-strain Shirota (LcS).

“We are growing at a lower double-digit growth and aim to continue the momentum with increase in our reach. There is a greater need to strengthen our geographical presence and also increase awareness among the consumers about the use of Yakult in their daily routine, Minoru Shimada, MD, Yakult Danone India Pvt Ltd told BusinessLine.

“Yakult contains 6.5 billion unique pro-biotic LcS that help improve digestion and build immunity. It can be consumed by everyone, including children above the age of one,” he added.

Shimada said States like Gujarat have higher acceptability of products like Yakult because of greater awareness.

Yakult is currently available at about 330 outlets across 10 cities in Gujarat, which it aims to increase to about 1,000 outlets over the next year.

Looking at the growing acceptability and increasing demand for the product, the company had recently ramped up its production capacity at Sonipat, Haryana, to 3.5 lakh bottles per day.

‘Crucial for health’

Neerja Hajela, Head, Science and Regulatory Affairs, Yakult Danone India, said: “An intestine also contains about 1.5 kg bacteria that are crucial for good health. The decline in the beneficial bacteria because of poor and unbalanced diet, stress, pollution and ageing negatively influences digestion and increases the risk of diseases. Yakult helps to increase the beneficial bacteria for better digestion and immunity.”

Citing a community-based study conducted in around 4,000 children between 1-5 years at the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata, she said that the results found that the consumption of Yakult for 12 weeks resulted in a 14 per cent reduction in diarrhoea.

“This was a very useful finding, especially in country like India where diarrhoea kills three lakh children every year,” she said.

Published on June 20, 2019
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