With a growing number of fermented milks on the market, it can be hard to make the choice between traditional kefir, like our Kerry Kefir, and supermarket alternatives.

Let’s take Yakult and Actimel as examples of well-known commercially available fermented milk drinks claiming to have benefits for gut health, let’s take a closer look at each to see their potential impact on our gut health. At Kerry Kefir, we’re proud of our product’s heritage, quality, and the benefits it brings to our customers. 

Ingredients and Nutritional Value

Kerry Kefir is crafted from just two simple, wholesome ingredients: local pasteurised cow’s milk and live kefir grains. This simplicity results in a nutrient-rich beverage with 59kcal per 100ml, 3.4g of protein, 3.6g of fat (2.35g saturated), and 3.7g of carbs (2.7g of naturally occurring sugar). Our kefir doesn’t just stop at delivering basic nutrition; it’s a powerhouse of gut-friendly bacteria, boasting  a diverse range (potentially over 30!) of bacteria and yeast strains. Each serving offers a symphony of microorganisms that may contribute to a healthy gut flora, improved digestion, and enhanced immune function.

Actimel contains a mix of yoghurt, skimmed milk, sugars (liquid sugar and dextrose), milk mineral concentrate, Lactobacillus casei, and vitamins B6 and D. Each 100ml serving contains 73kcal, 3g of protein, 1.6g of fat (1.6g saturated), and a higher sugar content at 10.8g. Actimel offers convenience and a boost of specific vitamins but with a limited bacteria profile, featuring 3 bacteria strains.

Yakult’s ingredients list includes water, skimmed milk, a variety of sugars (liquid sugar, glucose-fructose syrup, maltodextrin), and flavourings, culminating in a similar caloric value but a significantly higher sugar content at 15.4g per 100ml, including 13.6g of sugar, and only 1.3g of protein. Yakult delivers its single bacteria strain in plastic packaging, and is produced in the Netherlands.

When shopping for fermented milks, we recommend reading the ingredient lists. We suggest you seek a fermented milk that has only two ingredients- milk and cultures!

Taste, Texture, and Health Benefits

Kerry Kefir offers a unique, slightly tangy flavour and a creamy texture that comes from its natural fermentation process. This traditional method ensures that no two batches are exactly the same, celebrating the diversity of nature and the artisanal craft of kefir making. The diversity of microorganisms in Kerry Kefir, resulting from the use of live kefir grains, may contribute to a wider range of health benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and potential anti-inflammatory effects. The low, naturally occuring sugar content and presence of fats and proteins in Kerry Kefir also make it a more balanced choice for those mindful of their sugar intake and nutritional needs. Handmade in Ireland, our kefir is bottled in reusable glass packaging, emphasising sustainability and respect for the environment.

Kerry Kefir grains fermenting in jar under muslin cloth
Comparison of good bacteria and yeast strains in traditional kefir (30 bacteria, 10 yeast), like Kerry kefir, compared to supermarket kefir (14 bacteria), Actimel (3 bacteria) and Yakult (1 bacteria)

Actimel, produced in Belgium, offers a consistent taste and smooth texture due to its standardised production process. While some consumers may appreciate the uniformity, it lacks the depth of flavour provided by the diverse bacteria and yeast strains found in traditional kefir. 

Yakult, while beneficial for delivering gut-friendly bacteria, focuses on a singular strain of bacteria, which may limit the scope of health benefits. It also offers a consistent taste and smooth texture due to its standardised production process. The high sugar content in Yakult could be a concern for consumers looking to reduce sugar consumption in their diet.

Additionally, the plastic packaging of fermented food products raises environmental and health concerns.

A Sustainable Choice

Kerry Kefir’s commitment to sustainability is evident in our use of reusable glass bottles, reducing waste and promoting a cycle of reuse that benefits our planet. Our process is rooted in a hands-on approach, ensuring quality and care with every batch produced. By choosing Kerry Kefir, you’re not just making a decision for your health; you’re making a choice for the environment. Choosing Kerry Kefir isn’t just a decision for better health and sustainability; it’s also a vote of confidence in the local economy and small Irish businesses.When you choose products like Kerry Kefir, your money stays within the community, supporting local jobs and fostering economic growth. Small businesses are the backbone of the local economy, and by choosing them, you’re helping to ensure that your community remains vibrant and prosperous.

In contrast, the convenience of Actimel and Yakult’s plastic packaging comes at an environmental cost. When you purchase products like Actimel & Yakult, you are engaging with a global supply chain that prioritises mass production, wide distribution, and profit. 

The Verdict

Choosing between Kerry Kefir or  supermarket alternatives comes down to what you value most in a fermented milk. If you’re looking for a drink with a wider variety of bacteria and yeast strains, minimal ingredients, unique flavours, and a commitment to sustainability, Kerry Kefir is the preferred choice. Our traditional kefir may support not just your gut health but also the environment, offering a product that’s as good for the planet as it is for your body.

At Kerry Kefir, we’re proud to offer a product that stands out for its quality and health benefits.

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