Yeast maker Lesaffre opens new Cedar Rapids plant

A French maker of baking products formally has expanded its yeast production campus in Cedar Rapids.

Lesaffre Yeast Co., a subsidiary of the Lesaffre Group, celebrated the opening of a new blending facility in the southwest part of the city, which the company will use to create and mix together dry ingredients used by its corporate baking customers.

About 50 people attended Wednesday’s event, including Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart and two city council members, local economic development officials and Lesaffre employees from Wisconsin and France.The blending plant is all about “proximity” and bringing the company’s baking products closer to North American customers, Lesaffre Group CEO Antoine Baule said. The 25,000-square-foot building can be tripled in size through future expansions, he said.

“Before opening this facility, we were importing baking ingredients from France. Being local shortens very much the supply chain, makes us much more agile in addressing customer needs,” Baule said. Based in Lille, France, the Lesaffre Group makes yeast, yeast extracts and other baking ingredients under brand names such as Red Star and Saf-Pro Ingredients.

The 25,000-square-foot blending plant is just the latest building Lesaffre has added to it’s about 25-acre campus.