Lesaffre has inaugurated the Baking Center of its subsidiary Lesaffre Ivoire in Abidjan. The first of its kind in West Africa, the innovation centre was launched to meet growing demand in the region, and aims to support customers in the development of their expertise and new bread-making solutions.
The centre was inaugurated on 28 January 2020 in the presence of David Jousselme, director of the Lesaffre overseas region, and Gilles Huberson, Ambassador of France in the Ivory Coast.
Centre of expertise, technology and innovation
Lesaffre's Baking Center concept was created in 1974 as a centre of expertise, technology and innovation in bread-making for the bakery trade. The international network of Baking Centers currently comprises 47 centres spread over five continents.
Originating in northern France in 1853, family-owned Lesaffre has become a global key player in the field of yeast and fermentation, designing manufacturing and marketing solutions for baking, food taste, healthcare and biotechnology. In close collaboration with its clients and partners, the group employs 10,500 people, in 66 production sites, in 80 subsidiaries based in more than 50 countries.
The new Baking Center in Abidjan, built on a surface area of more than 120m², will bring together a team of breadmaking specialists who will be able to help professionals in the development of new products or breadmaking processes, train them using on-site equipment or intervene directly in their customers' workshops and production sites to provide technical support.
Lesaffre Ivoire supports a diversified clientele, including craft bakers, industrialists, distributors, wholesalers, hotels and restaurants.
"Our customers appreciate being able to challenge their bread-making process on state-of-the-art equipment and with the help of experts. It's a collaborative, peer-to-peer process, and our entire team is mobilised to come up with new ideas. For some customers, it's an opportunity to learn or relearn how to master the ingredients to diversify their offer or improve the quality of their products," says Romain Petit, managing director of Lesaffre Ivoire.
Lesaffre Ivoire's experts and technicians are able to provide concrete solutions for using yeast, sourdough or bread improvers in local recipes such as Ghanaian bread, traditional baguette, farmhouse bread or compound bread (wheat-manioc).
"We have always wanted to be as close as possible to our customers, and Africa is an important market for Lesaffre. We are proud to inaugurate this new Baking Center which will enable us to go further in our support in West Africa. Bread is not consumed in the same way in France, the Ivory Coast or Algeria. Local experts can respond to local requirements and share their knowledge with research and development here. This enables them to co-develop products that meet these requirements. It's a virtuous circle that starts in Baking Center where professionals speak the same language," adds David Jousselme.
Lesaffre in Africa
Africa was the first export destination for the Lesaffre group. As far back as the 1950s, Ivorian bakers were using Lesaffre yeast. Today, the company has five production sites in Africa and six sales offices, and it employs more than 700 people on the continent.
Lesaffre Ivoire has been based in Abidjan since 2004 and distributes yeasts and bread improvers throughout the Ivorian territory. It is also the commercial and technical support base for much of West and Central Africa.