Japanese probiotic drinking yoghurt brand Yakult is being launched in southern California, the first time it has been made available to the mainstream market in the US.

Brand owner Yakult Honsha said that from this autumn the probiotic dairy drink would be available at major supermarkets in southern California, as the first stage in plans to expand distribution to grocery chains throughout the state.

Yakult formed a US subsidiary in 1999 but has so far only distributed to Asian and Hispanic grocery stores. But it now believes the brand's preventative health proposition is relevant to the increasingly health-conscious mainstream American market.

"More than 25m people in 30 countries around the world enjoy Yakult on a daily basis. We hope that Americans will also incorporate our delicious product into their diets in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle," said Teruo Tabuchi, vice president and chief operating officer of Yakult USA. "We continue to carry out the goals set forth by our company's founder -- to educate everyone in the world about preventive health."

To accompany the launch, Yakult is running an advertising campaign in southern California featuring the tagline "Every day. For Every Body". Ads are to run in prominent print publications and will also be aired during premier TV and radio programming, the company said.