Parent Company: Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd
Brand value: $3,781 million
Headquarter city: Tokyo
Year formed: 1935
Yakult Honsha was founded in 1935 to sell the brand’s flagship product, Yakult — a beverage made using proprietary strains of lactic acid bacteria that were discovered the brand’s founder, Minoru Shirota, in the 1920s. The name “Yakult” derives from the Esperanto word for “yogurt.” Today, Yakult is a multinational corporation that sells various other products (including cosmetics and pharmaceuticals) and owns the Tokyo Yakult Swallows baseball team. The company regularly promotes what the Financial Times has called its "idiosyncratic philosophy of 'Shirota-ism'" – namely, that the brand should sell its products at an affordable price, that preventative medicine is the best approach to health, and that a healthy intestine promotes longer life. The brand’s hero product remains its regular yogurt drink, of which some 39 million bottles were consumed daily across 38 countries in 2017. The company pursues direct sales alongside home delivery (which is made possible in Japan through its “Yakult Lady” network). The company’s publicity profile was further boosted in the past decade by a series of sponsored experiments using lactic acid bacteria onboard the International Space Station. The company is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.