Probiotic foods contain microorganisms thought to be helpful to the consumer of the product. Advocates suggest that it can help reduce incidence of diarrhea and help consumers avoid colds and flu — and so Japan’s Yakult Honsha and Danone created drinks and yogurt products touting these benefits. Scientific evidence has yet to accumulate supporting these claims, and the European Food Safety Authority and U.S. Federal Trade Commission no longer allow such claims. So now these companies are finding big markets in Asia. This Bloomberg Businessweek article, “For Probiotic Drinks, Asia is the Place,” (September 27, 2012) describes the opportunity and some of Yakult and Danone ‘s marketing tactics. The use of young women as combination salespeople and home delivery agents makes for an interesting discussion of the nature of Promotion and Place in Asia.
This article could be used to provide examples of legal issues in marketing and for a different take on what makes international markets more or less attractive.