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Africa Outlook

Yeast
Anchor

ANCHOR YEAST

Anchor Yeast celebrates a proud legacy of 90 years



This year anchor Yeast celebrates 90 years of supplying innovative product solutions to customers and consumers, locally and internationally. the anchor Yeast brand has been a South African icon since 1923 and has entrenched itself in the heart and homes of South African families. we speak to MD, Vic De Melo, about Anchor and its future.

Writer Hannah Eiseman-Renyard/Vanda Evens
Project manager Jason Gilkes

Anchor Yeast, the leading yeast manufacturer in Sub- Saharan Africa, has embraced changing market conditions and has welcomed the challenge of new opportunities over the years. The most significant event in the last decade was its acquisition by Lallemand a Canadian based company in 2006.

"This acquisition brought together two companies that are long-standing leaders in the production and distribution of yeast and ingredients, for the baking and fermented beverage industries," explains Anchor's managing Director Vic De Melo. "Both companies have been in existence since the early 1920's and have common goals, strong values and a commitment to customers, quality products and high service levels."

Lallemand's growth agenda enabled global market penetration and access to leading technology. Both companies have pioneered solutions for bakers, wine makers and consumers alike. Lallemand is also a world leader in the development of specialty yeasts and bacteria for animal and human nutrition, as well as fuel ethanol and fermented beverages.

"In order to meet the needs of our customers and to remain focused on being a leader in dough raising technology, Anchor is structured into three market-focused Business units," explains Vic. "the Bakery Specialities Business unit serves the Baking Industry, whilst anchor Bio-technologies supplies natural yeast solutions to the wine, whisky, commercial brewing and bio-control industries. the third business unit focuses on the Consumer market."

Anchor values the role that people play in the success of the business and country – the length of service of their 300 employee base bears testimony to this. "I would say approximately 75 percent of our employees have in excess of 15 years' service with us."

Training is paramount to enabling the future and the firm has provided training to bakers in Africa since 1986 in its fully-equipped, expert training facility which is accredited by FoodBev Seta. To promote home-baking, Anchor also offers training courses and demonstrations to home-bakers, schools, community groups and small-scale commercial bakers. at its facility in Durban, annually it employs at least eight students focusing on engineering and biotechnology – many of them have since joined the company permanently.

Anchor recently invested in a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Durban, which manufactures yeast 365 days a year. The facility allows for flexible and innovative packing solutions which meet a wide range of specifications in diverse markets. Anchor also has a 'fresh yeast' manufacturing facility in Mozambique. all anchor manufacturing facilities conform to international quality standards and operate with HACCP and ISO certified Quality Management systems.

The Anchor product range is also kosher and Halaal certified.

"Our distribution network plays an important role in ensuring the delivery of product which is consistent in quality. This is a key market differentiator. We are uncompromising in our view of food safety" says Vic. "We provide a cold chain network that ensures that product is always delivered in its 'freshest' state."

In addition to understanding market needs there is an ever-present need to be cost effective and manage one's impact on the environment. With this in mind anchor has recently embarked on a multi-million rand project geared towards reducing energy consumption in its manufacturing facility which has yielded excellent results.

As the largest yeast supplier in Southern Africa, Anchor is uniquely placed to grow its market into Sub-Saharan Africa with yeast, enzymes and specialised ingredients, meeting the needs of localised customs and traditions. Anchor is currently represented in about 15 countries in Africa. "We enjoy a leading share in the South African home-baking market and are aiming to utilise this know-how to expand our footprint within Africa. More so than international brands, Anchor has an intimate understanding of the local markets and the product needs of consumers in Africa," Vic explains.

One of the company's leading consumer brands, Gold StarTM, was recently awarded a gold award in the South African TGI Icon Brand Survey in the baking category – these brands meet the needs and expectations of consumers, based on product usage.

Another exciting area of the business is wine yeast manufacturing. Expansion into this field started 38 years ago and resulted in Anchor Yeast being the second company in the world to produce dried wine yeast. The company's success in this market segment has been as a result of its successful association with Stellenbosch University, which assisted Anchor in developing a unique range of offerings for winemakers.

Vic explains: "Collectively Lallemand and Anchor are one of the leading manufacturers of wine yeast in the world and remain dedicated to research and development associated with new products. After all, if one does not remain current with technology you will get left behind."

Anchor and Lallemand remain committed to research and development and are working on new strains and packaging which will extend product freshness and consistency. They are also investigating other industrial applications for highly specialised organisms. Applications range from products for the forestry industry to products for maintaining greens on golf courses.

"The future remains bright and is one in which the evolution of healthier eating habits and a greater awareness for natural and organic foods, combined with changing lifestyles; will fuel the demand for safe, affordable and convenient products," says Vic.

We wish Anchor a happy 90th anniversary and many more to come.

To learn more visit www.anchor.co.za.