(Yicai Global) Nov. 11 -- Lesaffre, the world’s biggest yeast producer, secured a large number of orders at the third China International Import Expo in Shanghai, where the French firm’s products proved very popular.
It was Lesaffre’s third year at the annual trade event. Jean-Philippe Poulin, president of its business in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, told Yicai Global that the Marcq-en-Barœul-based company has already signed up for the next three.
Demand for yeast products surged this year as a result of restrictions aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers have changed their consumption patterns as a result, with more opting to bake cakes, cookies and pastries at home. That was a development that took Poulin by surprise, but was a boon to Lesaffre, whose share of the global yeast market is 31 percent.
Lesaffre had to open a separate signing area at its booth at this year’s CIIE, which ran between Nov. 5 and yesterday, so that the large number of buyers could place direct orders, Poulin said.
In addition to those orders, Lesaffre also signed strategic tie-ups with many Chinese customers at the trade expo. The CIIE has brought Lesaffre rare opportunities to get to know upstream, midstream and downstream firms as well as meet with its ultimate consumers, he said.
That has proved to be a great inspiration for Lesaffre’s product setup and research and development in the Chinese market, Poulin added.
Regarding prospects for the Chinese market, he pointed out that China has not only managed to control the epidemic, but has also seen the fastest economic recovery in the world. The country’s gross domestic product rose 4.9 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, while the International Monetary Fund expects China to be the only major economy to grow this year.
“This strengthens our long-standing judgment that the potential of the Chinese market is great,” Poulin said. “We don’t want to miss any opportunities, especially the hottest digital economy.”
Speaking of the digital economy, Poulin noted that Lesaffre this year opened a flagship store on Alibaba Group Holding’s e-commerce platform Tmall and also formed a strategic partnership with another Chinese e-commerce giant, JD.Com.
The French company has also opened an account on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. Lesaffre hopes that Chinese consumers can directly purchase its yeast products on the e-commerce platform, and keep alive their passion for home baking, Poulin said.
He also expects most Lesaffre products sold in China to be made by local companies, to achieve a balance in domestic and foreign sales. At present, in addition to meeting domestic demand, Lesaffre’s made-in-China baking yeast and yeast extract products have begun to be exported to Southeast Asia.
Since entering the Chinese market more than 30 years ago, Lesaffre has built and operates four production bases, four baking centers, and six factories in the country. The firm set up its Chinese business headquarters in Shanghai 10 years ago.
Editor: Peter Thomas