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Lallemand acquires Wisconsin-based yeast company

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 06-Aug-2009

Lallemand Bio-Ingredients said on Wednesday that it has completed its acquisition of the Wisconsin-based Lake States Yeast Company, in a move which marks its first entry into inactivated torula yeast.

Torula yeast is a flavor enhancer, imparting a savory, bouillon-type flavor, and is primarily used as a substitute for monosodium glutamate (MSG). However, it is also valued for its nutritional benefits, with a protein content of 60 percent, B vitamins and amino acids.

“Today, the term 'inactive yeast' is synonymous with nutrition,” said the Canada-based company. “The food and nutraceutical industries actively recognize the health benefits of consuming inactive nutritional yeast.”

Vice president of Lallemand Bio-Ingredients Don Van Horn said that this is the first time that the company has offered torula yeast and described the Wisconsin plant as “very viable”.

“We hope to grow capabilities there. Torula is the only product we produce there. Because it is a very strong strain with a special flavor, we wouldn’t want to produce it in another plant.”

He explained that contamination in the production of bakers’ yeasts is usually caused by torula strains which, in that context, are problematic because of their strong flavor.

“The plant also has a very good supply of water, and an economical waste water treatment, all the things you need for an industrial yeast plant,” he said.

Lake States Yeast will operate as a separate unit within Lallemand, the company said, but its product portfolio will be integrated in the Lallemand Bio-Ingredients division and complement inactive yeasts and yeast extracts produced in Montreal; Salutaguse, Estonia; and Grenaa, Denmark.

“The yeast has very special properties. It has special applications in flavor, and can be added to seasoning,” said Van Horn. “It can enhance the flavor in bland formulations.”

The global yeast products market is worth around $1.45 billion, according to Leatherhead Food International, and the market is growing at a rate of three to four percent a year on the back of increasing demand for natural ingredients in processed foods.

This latest acquisition is the second in a matter of days for Lallemand, which also announced the acquisition of the UK yeast facilities of GB Ingredients (GBI) earlier this week.

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