Planet China

Milking it

According to Madonna’s personal chef, the 53 year-old star has a longevity secret: not botox but foods that are rich in good bacteria, or probiotics. This is supposed to help with digestion and vitamin extraction. Coincidentally, in the last few weeks female shoppers in China have also been stocking up on Yakult, a Japanese probiotic milk-like product that’s supposed to aid digestion. But that’s not because they are familiar with Madge’s eating habits. Instead there are rumours circulating on the internet that Yakult improves their skin and prevents cancer. And here’s the clincher: it’s also supposed to help with breast enlargement, too.

Mainland shoppers have even been snapping up Yakult supplies in Hong Kong supermarkets and grocery stores, leading to shortages.

But why Hong Kong? It turns out that Chinese consumers are worried that Yakult factories in the mainland use tainted milk powder to make the drink, so many of them have chosen to cross the border to stock up on the ‘miracle elixir’. It is not the first time mainlanders have flocked to Hong Kong for dairy products. After the melamine scandal many anxious parents travelled to Macau and Hong Kong to buy baby formula.

A manager at a local supermarket told Hong Kong’s Apple Daily: “Many mainland shoppers buy more than 10 packs (there are 5 bottles in each pack) per visit. I have no idea what they plan to do with all the drinks. Maybe they plan to use them to shower?”


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