St. Louis, Missouri-based AB Mauri North America, a British-owned baking technology provider, is working to keep bread on families’ tables across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s three yeast production plants, which makes dry and fresh yeast under the Fleischmann’s Yeast brand, are running overtime to keep up with the growing demand.
“Thirty percent of food is consumed outside the house in the U.S. In a matter of weeks, that shut down. It put a huge burden on supermarkets’ supply chains. People can’t get what they want so they go down the home baking aisle,” said Mark Prendergast, President of AB Mauri North America.
School and office closures have prompted folks to find ways to occupy their time, and for many, that means baking bread. Data shows that U.S. sales of yeast skyrocketed 647.3% and 456.7% in the last two weeks of March, respectively, compared to last year.
“There’s plenty of yeast and flour in the United States, but not in quantities they demanded,” he said.
But why has bread baking in particular taken off?
“Time is a huge ingredient in bread baking. The standard loaf takes about four hours. We’re all stuck in our homes, and bread is most conducive to this environment,” said Matthew Hibbard, a prolific home baker and Social Community Manager for Ameren Missouri.
The rising demand comes at a good time for AB Mauri as they recently completed an expansion in Missouri’s Cortex Innovation Community. Since the company relocated its headquarters to the Cortex Innovation Community in 2015, it has grown its employee base by more than 10 percent.