The Yokos story began in a small village by the name of Livilliers. This green oasis in northern France is where founder Eric Bedier grew up. Family meals consisted of ingredients straight from the surrounding farms and the energy Eric gained from eating organic, free-range and hormone-free produce was put to good use outdoors, where he would spend hours playing sports.
When the Bedier family relocated to Paris’s 16th arrondissement during his teens, the diverse dietary options in this beautiful part of the city meant that organic, wholesome food was still available to them. The 10 years that Eric spent in the culinary epicentre of the world honed his refined palate and nurtured his appreciation for real, natural ingredients and a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
After law studies, Eric became a serial entrepreneur. He has owned an advertising agency, internet start-up, soccer academy and clothing import business, and spent two years as a financial broker. Such diverse careers led him to visit more than 50 countries, experiencing international food trends first-hand while coming to understand the flavours associated with global cultures.
A visit to New York in 2014 had him frequent one of the city’s popular yoghurt bars. Until then, he had not paid yoghurt much attention. But this experience opened up his eyes to its versatility. He was wowed by the bowl placed before him: Greek yoghurt with zucchini, pesto, pine nuts and olive oil.
Having witnessed yoghurt’s compatibility with a variety of fresh ingredients, Eric’s entrepreneurial prowess kicked in. His preference for eating clean, freshly produced, preservative-free meals that were loaded with energy, led to him experiment with his own flavour combinations.
By then Eric was living in Cape Town and was determined to show South Africans how adaptable an authentic yoghurt could be. He opened the first yoghurt concept bar at the V&A Waterfront in 2014, with a sensational offering of dairy yoghurt bowls and smoothies, and called it Yokos.
Two years later, due to the demand for lactose-free products and a shift into conscious ways of consuming food – less dairy and more dairy-free – Eric was inspired to develop the business into one that was ethically and consciously attuned to the planet and all its beings. He produced an innovative plant-based yoghurt that held a better footprint on the environment – bringing people closer to ultimate well-being without causing harm to animals. The yoghurt would focus on dairy alternatives that were environmentally friendly, using plant-based ingredients sourced with care.
In 2018 and 2019, due to an overwhelmingly positive response and high demand for Yokos vegan yoghurt, Eric further built his own factory and developed Yokos’s unique recipes, adding almond and cashew-milk vegan yoghurt to its range. Few brands around the world boast such a multitude in non-dairy yoghurt alternatives.
That’s how non-dairy coconut yoghurt found its way onto the Yokos menu, and into vegan-loving hearts, also turned Yokos to become the first non-dairy, vegan yoghurt concept bar of its kind in South Africa and a national producer and distributer of a full range of vegan yoghurt.
Eric has now been joined by his Lebanese wife, Rana, who shares his immense passion for conscious living. With Eric entrepreneurial brain and Rana’s background in retail, marketing and brand management have given Yokos the future-forward vision to take its products beyond Cape Town, while continuing to ensure its ethical leaning. Eric and Rana’s moral obligation to do good for the planet and offer health-conscious consumers more alternative products is a driving force that sees Yokos constantly innovating to produce new non-dairy options loaded with immense creamy deliciousness.
Besides its non-dairy vegan yoghurt concept bar at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Yokos nationally retails its non-dairy yoghurts through various South African stockists including Pick n Pay, Checkers, Spar, Dischem and Wellness Warehouse.
Born in Europe, inspired in North America, made in Africa – Yokos caters for every palate with a desire to live purely.