Just curious: Why is the Yakult bottle so small?


Posted at Mar 12 2010 03:38 PM | Updated as of Oct 30 2014 06:41 PM

Editor's note: This is our first article from the Just Curious series, which aims to answer interesting questions that are usually taken for granted. The story has been updated to include that Yakult Philippines now has its own website.

MANILA, Philippines - If you grew up drinking Yakult, you've probably asked this question at least once.

And you're not alone -- this question has been discussed in several blogs, social networking sites, and forums through the years. 

Just recently, some 68,000 people in the Philippines banded together in Facebook for a common wish -- for Yakult to sell their products in 1-liter bottles.

 Just curious: Why is the Yakult bottle so small? 1
David and Goliath. A cola can is more than 5 times the size of this 80-ml cultured milk drink.

Despite the huge demand for bigger doses of this cultured milk drink, however, Yakult still comes in a very small serving -- not even half the size of a cola can -- and it has been like this for over 70 years. 

How come Yakult officials still won't budge? Abs-cbnNEWS.com did a little research, and here's what we found out.


So why is the Yakult bottle so small?

Is too much of it bad for you? Is it because of the price? Or is it just that company officials never really thought about it?

According to data from Yakult's companies in Malaysia and Australia, the cultured milk drink only comes in small bottles to avoid contamination. In other countries, Yakult is sold in 65-ml and 100-ml bottles.

(2014 UPDATE: Yakult Philippines now has its own website, www.yakult.com.ph)

Yakult has only one flavor in all countries across the globe, except in Singapore where it's sold in 3 more variants -- orange, grape and apple.

"A smaller bottle is more hygienic. A larger bottle that is not finished might be kept open, thus a bigger risk of infection with other bacteria," Yakult Malaysia said.

"Opening and closing a larger bottle on numerous occasions can result in a decrease in the number of live probiotic bacteria due to the introduction of various air-borne bacteria. This is undesirable because bacteria have the potential to compromise the quality of Yakult," Yakult Australia said.

Yakult has long claimed that each serving of their probiotic drinks contains billions of Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain, which is said to be one of the strongest strains of beneficial bacteria.

One small bottle is enough to keep people healthy each day so there's no need to sell Yakult in bigger servings, the two companies said.

"If Yakult were provided in a larger bottle, people may drink more than needed, and while this is not harmful at all, it can be more expensive," Yakult Australia said.

There you go, we hope those statements from Yakult's two companies answered your question.

Who knows, Yakult may come up with a way to prevent contamination in bigger bottles in the next few years? We'll keep you posted.