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Three months after the official opening in May, Joergen Lundgaard, Lesaffre Managing Director, Asia Pacific, shares with us a “virtual tour” of the regional hub and the Lesaffre Singapore
Baking Center. 

By Catalina Mihu

Lesaffre, French family-owned company and global key player in yeasts and fermentation products, has set up a new expertise hub in Singapore. Antoine Baule, Lesaffre CEO, inaugurated the new premises in the presence of Low Yen Ling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education, and His Excellency, Mr. Marc Abensour, Ambassador of France to Singapore.

Overview: the development project

This investment in Singapore was strategic, due to the country’s location and position in Asia-Pacific. “It is essential to better adapt and respond to the habits and trends of the region’s complex markets,” the Managing Director tells APB&B. The project took nearly a year to complete, from the point when the ideal location for the facilities was determined, until the start of operations. “It took an additional six months to establish the core team and ensure operations were running smoothly, before the official opening of our office and facilities,” adds Lundgaard.

“As the Lesaffre Singapore Baking Center™ had to be situated in the same location as our office, there were certain restrictions to adhere to, limiting available office locations. After extensive feasibility studies, we chose our current location as it is central and situated amongst the high-tech industries. We can demonstrate and project Lesaffre’s vision on advanced product quality and commitment to innovation [here],” he explains.

The Lesaffre Singapore Baking Center™

The new Singapore regional hub houses several teams specialized in baking, food taste, human health and nutrition, animal care and biotechnology, with the goal to consolidate Lesaffre’s various business streams in advanced yeast applications and improve collaborative engineering of tailored business solutions in the region.

It is also the home of the Lesaffre Singapore Baking Center™ – one of the largest in the world. The Center serves “as collaborative space for innovation, as Asian consumers’ palates and nutritional demands rapidly evolve. The brand-new application center is dedicated to baking applications and enables the group to better adapt and respond to the cultural habits and trends across Asia Pacific. We have facilities for customer demonstrations, product development and analysis,” says Lesaffre’s APAC Managing Director.

“The Baking Center™ is equipped with mixers, proofers to ovens and our team can replicate specific APAC conditions in the bread making process and reproduce various types of breads available in APAC, including soft buns, sandwich bread and European breads. There is sufficient equipment to run several project trials at the same time. We also plan to develop new products and provide demonstrations and trainings for our customers and employees in APAC.”

Training opportunities

The office in Singapore will reinforce Lesaffre’s presence in the APAC: “We expect to offer to our customers the products they need, with technical support from our team in the Baking Center™. Our customers can benefit from our expertise to train end users and their own sales and technical teams. We will like to partner our customers to reach a sustainable growth in this very dynamic part of the world.”

There is a range of training programs available for Lesaffre’s customers at the Baking Center, as a value-added service. “It starts from the Basics of Bread Making, learning about incorporating specialty ingredients such as sourdoughs in a starter dough, or methods to enhance flavor. We can also educate our customers about various processes available or new technology trends, such as pre-fermented dough or frozen processes, depending on their needs. The various training programs are customized to suit different audiences ranging from R&D bakers, to production or marketing specialists,” we learn.

The R&D at Lesaffre Singapore strategically leverages on the location’s proximity to the Asia Pacific markets, to achieve product development projects backed by regional consumer trends. With the growth of the middle-class with more spending power, Asia-Pacific consumers are fast-moving towards innovative products, with new tastes and more sophisticated breads. “The baking environment is also changing, from a predominantly European influence, to one of Asian influence, with croissants and baguettes now making way for Asian sweet breads that incorporate a filling or topping. Asian baking expertise is also increasingly being recognized at an international level, with seven Asian bakers shortlisted to participate in the 2018 global Masters de la Boulangerie competition, held in Paris next year,” says Lundgaard.

Bakery production and innovation trends

The snacking trend is visible in most of Asia’s markets and growing, with high interest from industrial bakeries, who innovate to differentiate their offer from existing ranges, and seek new shapes, textures and flavors. Convenience is also an important factor in this busy region, as Asian consumers tend to snack on-the-go. This is quite different to the European market, where bread is generally consumed as part of a main meal, according to Lesaffre’s APAC Managing Director.

You can read more in our print magazine Asia Pacific Baker & Biscuit (Summer 2017)!

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