Our Story

Our Science Mission

Fuelled by science

We really do live and breathe science. Right now, hundreds of Yakult scientists are investigating how L. casei  Shirota and the field of microbiology could be advanced. After all, if our bacteria can make it to the gut alive –  what other amazing things could do? Between our wonderful teams in Japan and Belgium, we’re finding out more and more every day.

We’re also  so fortunate to work with incredible independent scientists and academics worldwide, who help keep us topped up with the freshest thinking. But the science doesn’t stop there. We also proudly support and fund independent research projects and teams in hospitals, universities and institutes internationally – including right here in the UK and Ireland, where many of the most innovative ideas take shape.

Yakult head office building

Yakult Central Institute

It was 1955 when Dr Shirota established the Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research. Today, our beloved centre is home to scientists who continue Dr Shirota’s pioneering work – investigating the use of bacteria in food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

The institute has seriously cutting-edge tech. It’s here that we research the relationship between intestinal microbiota and overall health.

Yakult Honsha European Centre

Our fantastic European hub opened in Ghent, Belgium in May 2005. It is home to a very specialist group of researchers. These guys use state-of-the-art technology to analyse actual human samples from clinical studies – allowing us to gain a deeper understanding of the special types of bacteria that live in the gut.

Research fields

Our Central Institute and European Research Centre are world famous facilities.

Our team covers all sorts

Yakult cosmetics range


Food is always on our mind – and not just what’s for dinner. At the Yakult Central Institute, our leading team of experts conduct research to identify microorganisms, functional food ingredients and their applications. Amazing, right?


Yup, that’s right – we do beauty products too. Our cosmetics are designed to help support healthy skin from the inside. In 1955, Dr Shirota developed S.E. (Shirota Essence) – a fermented lactic acid bacteria extract that can be used in skincare. We’ve since developed other original ingredients such as high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, fermented bifidobacteria extract (from soy) and lamellar particles. Who knows what we’ll come up with next.