34 CALF News • August | September 2020 • T he earth is a big place, but even global entities have to start with an idea; perhaps a thought that pops into someone’s head upon waking in the morning. Years later, following struggle and perseverance, a company emerges as a world influence. So it was when Fred A. Schurer left his European homeland in the late 19 th century. As with many North American immigrants, Schurer had endured a war and, more spe- cifically, the changing of French and German boundaries. Following the 1871 Franco-Prussian conflict, Mr. Schurer packed his bags and headed to Canada. Having a German-sounding name in a French Canadian country set him apart and confused his neighbors, and he was soon being referred to as the “German Man,” or in French, l’Allemand. Schurer embraced the name along with his new life. He named his fledgling company Lallemand and changed his last name, as well, to the French moniker. An entrepreneur Settling in Montreal, Lallemand’s initial interest was in wholesale, providing ingredients for the baking industry by purchasing yeasts from the United States, and repackaging and reselling product. Being an industrious sort, he eventually built his own yeast production facility on Prefontaine Street in 1915. The building still stands, and his company’s growth has not looked back since. Scientific advancement of yeast products for baking was significantly stepped up during the 1915 to 1942 time period. World War II (WWII) was a catalyst that moved increased research into food production and involved the National Research Council. Lallemand cooperated with and benefit- ted from the new technologies, moving the company from an importation and resale mode into a manufacturer of the most modern dry yeast products by the end of WWII. It is impor- tant to note that any research done on baker’s yeast is a driving force in learning how to expand the diverse fungus for use in other market segments and applications. By 1952, Mr. Lallemand was aging out, and his family sold the business to Roland Chagnon after some financial hard- ships struck the enterprise. The Chagnon family remains owner of the company today. Business moves forward A son of Roland Chagnon, Jean, came into the business in the 1970s. An aggressive player, he learned the company inside and out, and drove it into the international market. Lallemand expanded into production of distillery and wine yeasts derived from specific strains to benefit the end products, based on flavor, appearance and geographic area. Corporate expansion increased greatly into the 1980s, with yet another great push into European facilities in the 1990s. Although most of the company’s growth has been through acquisition, Lallemand continues to conduct research and explore new uses and tech- niques for an ever-evolving product. Jean Chagnon’s theory that, to be successful, one must always be increasing in scope, was working. By the end of the century, Lallemand was present on seven continents and had diversified into bacteria production, offering a wide range of product and service solutions in food and beverage, feed, energy and health industries. What about livestock? Research, production and marketing of silage inoculants and probiotics into livestock nutrition and human nutrition products was cemented in the 1990s. Amazingly, there seems to be no limit to the applications of yeast and bacteria; Lalle- mand has now expanded into product for the ethanol industry, as well as paper manufacturing. Probiotics and gut health are one example of the next fron- tier. An example of current research being conducted proves that certain strains of live yeast can help support immunity in the lower digestive tract of both livestock and humans. Impor- tant human clinical studies confirm that immune-compro- mised individuals, like children suffering from Crone’s Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, for example, are showing positive health benefits from yeast probiotics. Yeast probiotics fed to cattle have proven to bolster immune systems, reducing feedyard pulls and improving performance. Lallemand's Extraordinary History By Patti Wilson Contributing Editor The Evolution of Business Continued on page 37  Lallemand’s stylish delivery truck carried an early version of the company’s yeast products to local bakeries.