Yeast grower and distributor Lesaffre has inaugurated Baking Center of its subsidiary Lesaffre Ivoire in Abidjan, a city in Cote D’ivoire, West Africa. The center aims to support customers in the region in the development of their expertise and new innovative bread making solutions.
David Jousselme, director of the Lesaffre Overseas region and Gilles Huberson, ambassador of France in Ivory Coast attended the inauguration.
Baking Center is designed for the company to be closer to its customers and to meet growing demand in West Africa. Lesaffre Ivoire, which has been based in Abidjan since 2004, thus completes its expertise and facilities to support its diversified clientele: craft bakers, industrialists, distributors, wholesalers, hotels and restaurants.
The new 120 m² center will bring together a team of specialists who will be able to help professionals in the development of new products and bread-making processes, train them using on-site equipment or intervene directly in their customers' workshops and production sites to provide technical support.
Lesaffre Ivoire's experts/technicians are familiar with the specificities of West Africa and provide solutions for using yeast, sourdough or bread improvers in local recipes such as Ghanaian bread, traditional baguette, farmhouse bread or compound bread (wheat-manioc).
The concept for Baking Center was developed by Lesaffre in 1974 as a center of expertise, technology and innovation in bread making for the bakery trade. The international network of Baking Center currently comprises 47 centers spread over 5 continents.
Africa was the first export destination for the Lesaffre group. In the 1950s, Ivorian bakers could already use Lesaffre yeast. Today, Lesaffre has five production sites in Africa, six sales offices and employs more than 700 people on the continent.
Launched in September 2019, Saf Challenge, the baking competition organized by Lesaffre in Africa, awarded the best bakers of the year on January 28, 2020, in Abidjan.
Through October 2019, more than 150 bakers from all over Africa took part in the 1st phase of the competition, during which they were invited to make a video illustrating their baker's dream and post it on the Saf-Instant application.
The 10 bakers who received the most votes on their video were selected for the 2nd part of the competition, which took place at Baking Center in Abidjan, from January 25 to 29, 2020. It was a practical baking competition, during which the candidates prepared two original recipes based on Saf-instant yeast, in front of a jury of professionals.
Nine countries were represented in the final: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Gambia, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Algeria, Madagascar and Cote d'Ivoire.
The 10 finalists were present for the official inauguration of Baking Center of Lesaffre Ivoire and the winner was awarded the title of “the most inspiring baker in Africa” and a prize of a €40,000 reward in the form of financial assistance for the realization of his dream; a makeover of his bakery, a year of free yeast and personalized technical training.
“Our customers appreciate being able to challenge their bread-making process on state-of-the-art equipment and with the help of experts,” Romain Petit, managing director of Lesaffre Ivoire. “It's a collaborative, peer-to-peer process, and our entire team is mobilized 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.”
“We have always wanted to be as close as possible to our customers, and Africa is an important market for Lesaffre,” David Jousselme, director of the Overseas region of 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.”