Lallemand Inc.

Lallemand: What's in a Name?

Born out of solving a Franco-German-Alsatian communication problem; with a global reach through a proactive approach to innovation and a strong focus on adding customer value, some might say, Lallemand bears comparison with many aspects of the Europe of today. Baking Europe recently caught up with Patrice Ollé, Business Development Manager at Lallemand Baking Solutions.

Good afternoon, M. Ollé. For the benefit of those of our readers who might not know very much about Lallemand, could you tell us a little about the company?

Lallemand has a very interesting story, which begins with its name. The company was started in Canada by an immigrant over from Alsace named Frédéric Alfred Shurer, but called "L'Allemand" by the people of Montreal. Being a practical man, he realised that if his customers were referring to him as "l'Allemand", then this was an ideal name for his new company. Both the company name and this recognition of the importance of the customer survived when the Chagnon family acquired Lallemand in 1952. Although its focus is on yeast and bacteria for baking, winemaking - and many other industry sectors including biofuels and pharmaceuticals, this customer-centred approach still runs right through the company today. You can see it as much in our approach to developing new solutions for our customers as in our acquisitions of distinctive and recognisable brands when they fit well with our vision and our existing product range The acquisition of Best Bake, with their expertise in creating innovative performance blocks for industrial bakeries is a good example.

Surely, even though interest in artisanal baked products is growing, most bread sold today is fairly standardised, perhaps making the ingredient Baker's yeast a rather standardised product. How then is Lallemand able to make itself distinctive?

Starting from Baker's yeast as a common leavening agent, Lallemand shows that it is now possible to provide specific flavour and aroma to bread products, as well as shelf life extension or proofing control. The trick is to have strong relationship with your customers and a strong approach to R&D. Lallemand develops added value products which give its customers a commercial advantage.

Can you give us some examples to illustrate what you mean?

This approach to adding value sometimes requires a little bit more market education if customers do not immediately see a benefit. One instance of this is a yeast called Flexferm™ with which bakers can control CO2 production. This gives the baker production flexibility and improved waste management while imparting more consistency to the final product. We have another yeast product called Essential® Fresh that can extend shelf life naturally, with obvious benefits in terms of reduced wastage and spoilage - and increased profits for our customers!

Take another of our products, Vita D®. Effectively, this yeast represents a non-fortified, vegetarian source of vitamin D in baked goods. By using it instead of ordinary Baker's yeast, a baker can increase the vitamin D content of anything he chooses – including, of course, bread and cakes; but also snack products and dietary supplements.

We can also easily differentiate our customers' products by helping them to make their own sourdough with a unique flavour signature by the use of our Florapan starter cultures and aromatic yeasts. Both types of products can be used individually or in combination for specific aromatics. Last but not least we also have an organic baker's yeast which allows bakers to produce a fully organic bread.

Is this reputation for adding value for your customers what attracts you to working with Lallemand?

Having excellent customer relationships is obviously a big bonus, but the spirit of collaboration is also carried right through the Company amongst the business units. There is excellent communication between the technical marketing staff and the R&D staff, who work well together with the same approach to solving customers' problems.

In the magazine, we have recently been looking at the possible consequences of Brexit on Europe's baking industry - and it wouldn't be right to miss an opportunity to learn if Lallemand has any view of the British decision, or if it has seen any changes since it was taken.

Lallemand is a pragmatic and adaptable organisation, with a strong R&D focus geared to adding value to fundamental baking products like yeast and bacteria; and we have a good understanding of our customers' needs inside and outside Europe. The future looks good.

M. Ollé, thank you for your time today.


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