History of Lesaffre
In 1853, Louis Lesaffre and Louis Bonduelle, two farmer's sons from northern France, got together to build a plant producing alcohol from grain and juniper berries at Marquette-lez-Lille. Originally, yeast was nothing more than a by-product from the process of manufacturing alcohol from the grain.
In 1871 the Austrian Baron Max von Springer, owner of an excellent distillery at Maisons-Alfort, introduced from Vienna the idea of extracting yeast from the grain fermentation wort and selling it to bakers. Up until that time, the bakers had used their own sourdough, sometimes accompanied by residual brewery yeast. The following year, Lesaffre and Bonduele developed the process of manufacturing fresh yeast at Marcq-en-Baroeul, with the operation being housed in a former mill. The Societe Industrielle Lesaffre grew from this site. This company gradually emerged as the driving force and the platform for the industrial and commercial expansion of the yeast branch of the Group.
THE GREAT STEP FORWARD
By the turn of the century, the company was already selling abroad, with export destinations including Great Britain, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. Although this may seem perfectly normal today, at the time it was a major feat due to the transportation and distribution conditions of the day. Following the Second World War, a series of technological breakthroughs and innovations, backed by establishment of an efficient export sales network, enabled Lesaffre to achieve sustained growth. A recognized master in the field of bio-industries, Lesaffre structured itself around its core activities: yeast, malt, and bio-conversions. In order to be geographically closer to its customers and to be able to offer them the very best possible service, Lesaffre went on to establish itself on a worldwide basis across five continents.
In 1976, SAF-Instant® Yeast was first introduced to the US and Canada. The product was manufactured in France and shipped to the United States. After the initial introduction it was realized that the product, and the market, needed a baker's perspective. Therefore, the field sales and technical team evolved, over time and through attrition, into a group with many years of experience in all aspects of the baking industry. This presentation by bakers to bakers continues today. The 1980's proved to be a great period of steady growth. In 1982, a conference was held to ask a cross-section of the baking industry what we could do to make SAF Yeast the all around best choice. Establishing these relationships and our outstanding technical team, placed SAF Yeast on the road to an even higher level of quality products and services. Key locations were established in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and California to support this growing yeast market. In 1986, to better serve the markets, one central office was established.
SAF Yeast had long since growth to the World's Largest Yeast producer and the standard for professional bakers and commercial bakeries. In 1997, SAF Consumer Company was founded to bring SAF Yeast into the kitchens of home bakers in the United States and Canada. The brand name, SAF Perfect Rise Yeast was selected because of the special formulation of the yeast that allows it to work perfectly in all recipes, those calling for either fast rising yeast or active dry yeast. Many home bakers had already discovered the quality and performance of SAF Yeast and were purchasing it from bakery distributors and gourmet shops nationwide. By 1999, SAF Perfect Rise Yeast had made it to shelves of over 10,000 Grocery Stores in the United States and Canada. The preference for SAF Perfect Rise Yeast continues to grow among the home bakers as the word spreads about the consistent performance and enhanced flavor when using SAF.
In February, 2001, Lesaffre Yeast Corporation further expanded its presence in the US yeast industry with the purchase of Red Star Yeast from Sensient Technologies Corporation. The Red Star family featured a consumer yeast brand as well as commercial products for the wholesale, bakery, foodservice and nutritional yeast industry. This merger continued to increase SAF’s leadership position in the U.S. yeast industry and gave the resulting company a strong national network of plants delivering quality yeast products to bakery, food, agriculture and nutriceutical markets.