China Food

Daily sales of 7.5 million bottles, why did Yakult “take risks”?


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“一个红瓶闯天下”行不通了?
 
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Text: Tang Bohu   

Source: bohufn (ID: bohufn)

 
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Yakult, a Japanese brand that has always relied on precision marketing to open the Chinese market, has recently fallen on marketing.
 
Recently, because of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Shanghai last year, the Yakult Dairy Company Limited, Yakult, was fined 450 thousand yuan by Shanghai Pudong New Area market supervision and Administration Bureau.
 
450000 yuan is a drop in the bucket for a company that sells well in 39 countries around the world and sells 27 billion yuan a year, but yangledo may never have thought that the marketing rollover not only aroused the anger of netizens, but also made everyone start to re-examine the super big single product in the lactic acid bacteria beverage industry.
 
Behind the marketing rollover, is this old brand enterprise that has stood for 86 years “desperate” or “relapse”? Where is the spirit of “breaking into the world with a red bottle” over the years?
 
“Great health” marketing
 
“If you have beautiful intestines, you will be beautiful.”
“Ten billion live Yakult bacteria help the intestines exercise.”
 
At that time, when the domestic low-temperature yogurt category was still a blue ocean, Yakult, which entered the Chinese market in 2002, was pushed to the high position of “health single product” by relying on the precision marketing focusing on intestinal health.
 
Today, you can find Yakult in Wal Mart, Carrefour, 711, Xiduo, or in the freezer of the canteen downstairs.
(source: Network)
Hirano Shin, chairman and general manager of Yakult (China) Investment Co., said in an interview that Yakult entered the Chinese mainland market in 2002, selling about 60 thousand bottles a day, and has increased to 7 million 500 thousand bottles by 2018.
 
That is to say, every 1 minutes, 5200+ bottles are kept away from the market, and this is only the sales situation in the Chinese mainland market.
 
According to the official data released by Yakult, the daily average sales volume of Yakult in 39 countries in the world in March 2019 reached 40.67 million bottles, with an annual sales volume of 27 billion.
 
However, the story behind the high sales of Yakult has to start from the 1930s.
 
In 1930, Dr. Minoru Daida of Japan successfully isolated Lactobacillus from human intestines, and used this probiotic to make a lactobacillus drink – Yakult.
 
According to the authoritative definition of the United Nations, probiotics refer to active microorganisms that produce health benefits to the host when ingested in sufficient quantity. Probiotics produced by yogurt fermentation are the first probiotics eaten by humans.
 
Lactobacillus extracted from human intestines by Minoru Daida is a kind of probiotics, which is named “Lactobacillus casei Daida strain”.
 
In fact, Minoru Daida is not the first person to extract probiotics. Many scientists have found and extracted various probiotics before him.
 
But Daitian’s wisdom is that he did not use the Lactobacillus he found to make medicine, but made a lactobacillus drink and named it “beneficial to intestinal health”.
 
Obviously, consumer goods have a larger audience than drugs.
 
In 1940, Yakult established “Daida protection bacteria Popularization Association” all over Japan to educate consumers to establish flora awareness.
 
With the indoctrination of this “advanced” concept, Yakult has become a “pronoun” to promote intestinal digestion, and quickly has a huge loyal user group. Yakult covers all ages from children to the elderly, becoming a sales myth in the industry.
 
However, in China’s current effective food standards, lactic acid bacteria drinks and yogurt are not the same thing.
 
In short, the main component of yogurt is milk, and the main component of lactic acid bacteria beverage is water.
 
Like the Yakult red bottle, the top two ingredients in the list are water and white granulated sugar, followed by skimmed milk powder and edible glucose.
 
The up master “Dad assessment” of station B conducted a simulation experiment on Yakult in 2018.
 
The experiment found that the sugar content of a small bottle of original lactobacillus beverage reached 15.3 grams per 100 ml, 50% higher than that of Coca Cola.
 
(source: Dad assessment)
Publicize the effect of “10 billion active lactic acid bacteria”. After the experimental simulation of “digestion”, only 0.02% of the total can enter the intestine alive, and the role of the intestine is finally in doubt.
 
However, this does not affect the concept of “health” of Yakult packaging.
 
In 2021, the latest advertisement of Yakult has been launched on major satellite TV. In the advertisement, a child was thrown a bottle of Yakult as soon as he stepped on the school bus; two old people were arranged to have two bottles at the dinner table.
 
In order to cultivate this consumption habit, the end of the advertisement simply and rudely stressed: “drink every day!”
 
So far, Yakult has published six versions of advertisements.
 
In Guangdong, Yakult (i.e. Yakult) often holds offline health lectures for students or the elderly and sends its products to the audience. Yakult factory in Guangzhou is also open to the public from time to time.
 
It has to be said that the concept of great health marketing, Yakult is undoubtedly successful.
Innovative model behind the popularity of large items
 
In addition to being good at marketing, the sales model is also an important reason why Yakult is popular all over the world.
 
In 1963, Yakult pioneered the “family distribution” service model in Japan.
 
These delivery workers wear uniform clothes and equipment. Because they are a group of amiable housewives, they are respected as “Yakult mothers” (in some areas, they are called “Yakult ladies”).
 
“Yakult Mom” is the key sales force of Yakult. In addition to traditional channels such as shopping malls, supermarkets and retail stores, the sales performance of “Yakult Mom” is close to two-thirds of the 28 million bottles of Yakult sold every day all over the world.
 
In order to increase the income of “yangleduo mother”, yangleduo stipulates that only one “yangleduo mother” will be delivered to a region for management. In addition to the guaranteed salary every month, yangleduo will reward about 50% of the profits to “yangleduo mother”.
 
There are many advantages in this way of distribution with man-made connection points.
 
First of all, no matter how many customers, “Yakult mothers” remember clearly, “Mrs. Ci’s fixed distribution product each time is a board of Yakult; the old lady of the rutian family likes raising cats and plants; there are 6 people in the Kanye family who need 4 boards of products…”
 
(source: Network)
Although the distribution center is equipped with unified electronic equipment for “Yakult mothers” to record the information of each customer, they hardly need to turn on the electronic equipment.
 
Secondly, the “yangleduo mother” from the social grass-roots level is more familiar with the way of communication with consumers, and it is easy to input the concept of gastrointestinal diet to consumers face-to-face.
 
The most terrible thing is that on the channel line composed of “Yakult mother”, a normal person can only complete 70 bottles of tasks every day, but the amiable “Yakult mother” can find more than 150 subscribers.
 
“Yangleduo mother” not only solved the problem of “the last kilometer” of the enterprise, but also brought amazing sales.
To this end, yangleduo, who tasted the “sweetness” of this sales model, recruited more than 80000 “yangleduo mothers” all over the world.
 
“One red bottle into the world” doesn’t work?
 
In the big health marketing and “Yakult mother” “double sword combination”, Yakult with a “red bottle” has gone through 86 years, now take the protection of COVID-19 marketing, behind is the sales volume decline anxiety.
 
According to the data provided by the Kaidu consumer index, from August last year to August this year, the sales of Yakult in the Chinese market decreased by 16.2%, the penetration rate decreased by 3.4%, the average price decreased by 0.7%, and the annual shopping volume decreased by 14.9%.
 
Not only did the Chinese market decline, according to the financial report of Yakult, the daily sales volume of Yakult in overseas markets in fy2021 was 30.564 million bottles / day, a decrease of 3.35% compared with fy2020.
 
In the view of insiders, the decline in sales is due to both yangleduo’s own reasons and multiple factors such as changes in the external environment.
 
“The increasing weight of local probiotic products has turned the market into stock competition, and they have snatched the market share of yangleduo. In terms of promotion, yangleduo is not as strong as Yili, Mengniu and other giants,” said Song Liang, a dairy analyst.
 
In recent years, with the popularization of the concept of probiotics, domestic dairy giants such as Yili, Mengniu and Guangming have added probiotic drinks. They are not only similar to Yakult in packaging and composition, but also lower in price; On the same capacity, the selling price of Yili and Mengniu products is only about 80% of that of yangleduo.
 
(source: Network)
In addition, in terms of sales channels, Yakult lacks new ways to play.
 
The previously popular direct selling mode of “Yakult Mom” has been seriously impacted by the rise of domestic takeout, express delivery service and convenience stores.
 
Compared with the online red brand that has developed rapidly with the help of new channels in recent years, Yakult has neither launched new sales methods, nor is it willing to put down its posture and make a price compromise.
 
It is reported that when other milk beverage products do promotional activities such as holidays, Yakult has always adopted the national unified price, does not make any form of discount, and even controls the price reduction of stores by stopping goods.
 
A supermarket practitioner revealed that yangleduo does not allow businesses to make special prices, even if the businesses discount money and lose gross profit. Once found, they will stop supplying goods.
 
It is undoubtedly a self destructive behavior to treat the offline supermarkets on which it depends.
 
Moreover, when other brands do more innovation and development for emerging consumer groups, in addition to launching the “low sugar blue bottle”, the production scope of Yakult has always been limited to the inherent products of “100ml red bottle”. From this perspective, the single explosive product that supports Yakult to today seems to have changed from a magic weapon to a shackle.
 
Competition for encirclement and suppression, single products, lack of new marketing methods, and the position of the leader of Yakult lactobacillus beverage can be said to be in jeopardy.
 
It is not difficult to understand why a bottle of lactobacillus beverage is willing to take risks in the face of such a serious event like COVID-19.
 
Perhaps for Yakult, the fine of 450000 yuan is more terrible than losing its position in the hearts of users.
Reference message:
1. AI financial news agency: Yakult can’t “cheat” anymore
2. Rui company: it has been sold for 82 years. Why does Yakult only sell 2.2 yuan per bottle?
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