In this month’s Vibrant Health interview series, we got to chat with the team at Lallemand Health Solutions, a pioneer in the probiotics industry since 1934. Vibrant Health is proud to have been working in collaboration with Lallemand for more than 20 years, as they’re truly a brand we can trust and stand behind.
In this inspiring interview, we chat with Lallemand about how it all began 80+ years ago, conducting in-house trainings with our staff at Vibrant Health, and the fascinating science behind probiotics. We’ll let the Lallemand team take it away from here!
What’s the Lallemand Health Solutions story? Tell us how it all began!
Back to Lallemand Health Solutions’ origins in 1934
Founded in Montreal at the end of the 19th century by Mr. Fred Schürer, called “Lallemand” because of his accent coming from Alsace, a European area once shared between Germany (Allemagne in French) and France, Lallemand, the parent company of Lallemand Health Solutions, is a private Canadian firm involved in the development, production, and marketing of yeasts, bacteria and other ingredients related to these microorganisms or their markets.
The former Canadian plant on Préfontaine Street in Montreal was built in 1915, and production of baker’s yeast started there in 1923. Roland Chagnon acquired the Lallemand business in 1952 and his grandson Antoine Chagnon, the current owner, is the third generation of the Chagnon family at the head of the company.
Currently, Lallemand employs more than 4,500 people, including 450 for Lallemand Health Solutions, located in 45 countries on 5 continents and is organized into 11 technically-driven business units focusing on various applications of yeast and bacteria in baking, fermented beverages, animal nutrition, fuel ethanol, agriculture, pharmacy and human health. Lallemand owns 45 plants including 21 yeast and 8 bacteria plants.
More than 80 years of expertise in probiotics with Institute Rosell and Harmonium
In 1934, Dr. Rosell creates the Rosell Institute, which is further developed by Dr. Brochu. Since then Lallemand Health Solutions has always been research-driven with an insatiable appetite to stay at the forefront of the probiotic research with the Rosell® Institute for Microbiome and Probiotics. The research institute leads all the fundamental research and pilots an extensive clinical program on proprietary strains.
Lallemand Health Solutions then consolidates the internationally recognized probiotic manufacturers Rosell Institute (acquired in 1998) and Harmonium International (incorporated in 2011). Both companies have been reinforcing their strengths in their complementarity, the Rosell Institute through its strains, and Harmonium through its unmatched production agility to deliver complex probiotic formulas in particular for the North-American market thanks to cutting-edge infrastructures.
Scientific cooperation spells success
Today, The Rosell® Institute for Microbiome and Probiotics by Lallemand, Lallemand Health Solutions’ research and development center located at the National Research Council of Canada in Montreal, develops partnerships with key scientific experts in order to study the human microbiome and how probiotic supplements can be used as a mean to improve or maintain health in specific populations or health segments. The research team, led by Research Director Dr. Thomas Tompkins, has issued over 330 publications including 160 clinical studies.
Quality probiotics. Complete solutions.
Lallemand Health Solutions is a vertically integrated probiotic manufacturer specialized in the research, development and manufacturing of ready-to-market and custom probiotic formulations. Its products target specific populations and health segments including gut health, natural defenses, women’s health, brain-gut axis, skin health, metabolism, oral health and sport. Probiotics are produced in cutting-edge plants certified to the highest quality standards ̶ Lallemand Health Solutions being the first and still the only probiotic manufacturer granted with the USP GMP certification for its bacteria plants in Canada. More than 600 probiotic formulas are currently marketed in over 60 countries across five continents.
Full control is key
From lab to shelf, Lallemand Health Solutions has the full control and expertise to produce premium probiotic solutions, blends and custom formulations as each development step is expertly supported by internal quality insurance, regulatory affairs, research and development, scientific affairs, technical support, sales and marketing teams.
2020: Another bacteria plant allows Lallemand Health Solutions to double its production capacity
In order to face a growing market demand for quality probiotic food supplements, Lallemand Health Solutions has invested in expanding its bacterial production capacity in Mirabel, Canada with a 11 000m² new building using state-of-the-art equipment and production process. Harmonium 2 complies with the highest quality standards and good manufacturing practices (GMP) guidelines for the production of food supplements probiotics. Lallemand already operates two other bacterial production plants in Canada, Harmonium 1 in Mirabel (just across the street) and Rosell plant in Montreal both certified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Quality Systems GMP for dietary supplements, as well as a Pharmaceutical GMP conditioning and packaging facility in Quebec as well as production facilities in St-Simon (France), and Vienna (Austria), which equally have the necessary production licenses to manufacture clients’ probiotics to the highest standards. With this new asset, Lallemand Health Solutions is leveraging decades of internal know-how and implementing the latest state-of-the-art technologies for fermentation, freeze-drying and packaging of probiotics.
From bulk to finished products, Lallemand Health Solutions in-depth understanding of the benefits of each of its strains, ensure to provide probiotic solutions relevant to all specific needs.
The EXPERT’Biotic range are ready-to-market documented formulas supported by clinical studies, complete registration dossiers and available claims. These formulas can be supplied in their original dosage forms or as ingredients to design new formulas leveraging the existing documentation.
The UNIQUE’Biotics are specific customized blends fully tailored to customers’ needs in terms of strains, colony-forming unit (CFU), dosage form, combination with other ingredients and flavours.
Also available, a range of best-in-class formulas targeting specific health segments and/or populations, the SMART’Biotics. Lallemand Health Solutions has a wide selection of existing formulas, chosen for their scientific rationale and key features like dosage form, stability, concentration, etc.
Tell us about your company mission and values and how you plan to play a leading role in health and wellness solutions globally.
Lallemand Health Solutions’ vision is to play a leading role in the health and wellbeing of women and men of all ages across the globe and to become the world’s top reference for probiotics, yeast, and bacteria-based health solutions. Lallemand Health Solutions continues to follow in the footsteps of its founders, with the implementation of numerous in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies to extend the limits of the health applications offered by probiotics.
Through its expertise to supply the best probiotic strains and products, together with an undeniable commitment for continuing research and development work on bacteria and yeasts and skilled customer care in educating and training the business partners, Lallemand Health Solutions’ mission is to look at the future of probiotics and the microbiome, to better understand their modes of action and potential benefits in emerging health areas. Thanks to networks with key major health professionals as well as an involvement in local and global associations, to continually commit to increasing the awareness and use of probiotics. As a leading world-class probiotic manufacturer, Lallemand Health Solutions aims for excellence and customers’ confidence by obtaining internationally recognized accreditations and licenses.
Give us a behind the scenes into a day-in-the-life at your company?
Like a majority of companies around the world in 2020, Lallemand Health Solutions had to set up new working habits as the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the status quo and forced everyone to adapt quickly. Right from the start of the crisis, Lallemand Health Solutions had deployed additional measures to its initial contingency plan, to ensure employees and operations safety, as well as business continuity, as it was considered as an essential business.
The higher management communicated regularly with all employees to update them on what had to become the “new normal.” In addition to its standard strict hygiene procedures, which have always been in place in its cGMP facilities, Lallemand Health Solutions followed new recommendations from global and local authorities of all countries and implemented adequate preventive measures. Most administration employees are since working from home using approved work-from-home technologies and company private secured network resources. Business trips and gathering have been postponed until further notice and employees are using telecommunications applications to connect and drive meetings remotely, to ensure business goes on whilst avoiding direct contact. Production employees are also thriving to maintain smooth running of operations whilst complying with the strictest hygiene procedures.
Worldwide, Lallemand Health Solutions teams were quickly mobilized and they were recognized for their dedicated work in a social media campaign directed by the managing team; we show our true colors.
A typical day working for Lallemand Health Solutions can be quite different from one employee to another, as there are the hands-on production workers, research and development laboratory workers, administrative office-based workers, administrative home-office based workers. But one thing everyone has in common is the passion to work for a company that really cares about human wellbeing and takes pride in enhancing lives in countless ways.
Lallemand Health Solution is proud to have an open culture of entrepreneurial spirit and is pursuing a never-ending quest to look out for better ways to improve quality, productivity and create innovative products.
Tell us more about your collaboration with Vibrant Health. What do you want our readers to know?
Over time, Lallemand Health Solutions and Vibrant Health have developed a long lasting partnership that has now exceeded 20 years of precious collaboration. Vibrant Health people are a delight to work with and very responsive. Lallemand Health Solutions scientific experts have done several in-house trainings to educate the staff on probiotics and on the various offers and combinations possible.
Efficacy and research play an important part in how Vibrant Health formulates their products for consumers. The team is always open to new ideas, new products and reformulations to enhance their portfolio for their consumers…and Lallemand Health Solutions is always keen in developing the most innovative formulas for them.
What is one of the misconceptions around probiotics, and what would you tell someone looking to incorporate them into their diet?
Probiotics have always been part of life since human eats fermented foods. Already back in 1900, there was some evidence that specific bacteria and yeasts had a beneficial impact on health. Nowadays, the probiotics health claims are verified by health authorities and backed by science and clinical studies, and regulatory authorities make sure they have proven track of safety, efficacy and are marketed in accordance with the strict regulations in place.
Probiotics have been shown to be safe, even some strains are recommended for newborn babies and young and children. There is more and more evidence that probiotics can help people stay healthy in certain ways, such as improving immune function, maintaining normal gastrointestinal function.
Studies indicate that probiotics are able to produce inhibitory substances (e.g. lactic acid, bacteriocins and anti-microbial) and inhibit microorganism’s attachment to intestinal cells and thus avoid infections (e.g., competition for adhesion, stimulation of mucus production). They also modulate the immune system (regulation of interleukins and cytokines).
The main fields of research of probiotics concern:
- Support of gut health (diarrhea from various origins in children and adults, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), etc.)
- Improvement of immune system
- Support women’s intimate health
- Support oral health
- Beneficial effect on stress and anxiety through the Brain-Gut axis
As per the World Health Organization (WHO) definition: probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics also mean “Pro-Life”. They can either be bacteria such as Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria… or yeast such as Saccharomyces boulardii. Probiotics are also known as “friendly bacteria”, as they are active live cells that help restore and maintain healthy intestinal flora.
Probiotics must be properly identified and characterized, viable, provided in adequate doses, must be safe for the consumer. The mechanism of action of the strain should be understood and the health benefits have to be clear and supported by regulatory documentation.
Among other characteristics, to designate a microbe as probiotic, clinical benefits must be established. Lallemand Health Solutions clinically studied products confer health benefits to specific populations and health segments including gut health, natural defenses, women’s health, babies’ health, brain-gut axis, skin health, metabolism, oral health and active people.
There are over 1,600 human clinical trials on probiotics listed in ClinicalTrials.gov and the WHO’s trial database, according to a new analysis that seeks to address the misconception that there is no human data around probiotics. (Heliyon, July 2020).
The Rosell® Institute for Microbiome and Probiotics by Lallemand, Lallemand Health Solutions’ research and development center develops partnerships with key scientific experts in order to study the human microbiome and how probiotic supplements can be used as a mean to improve or maintain health in specific populations or health segments. The research team has issued over 330 publications including 160 clinical studies.
What does wellness look like for you and your team at Lallemand Health Solutions?
Lallemand Health Solutions ensures its employees’ health and wellness in many ways. First by encouraging and supporting the participation in physical activities and physical endurance challenges for charities. Following the COVID-19 crisis, the employer made sure to keep all employees safe, expanding its work-from-home policy and supplying face masks for all employees and their beloved ones, even before they were mandatory.
On the “mental wellness” side of things, Lallemand Health Solutions ensure its employees can really adopt a work-life balance, with flexible working hours, summer workweeks, and a considerable amount of personal days allowance. And of course, probiotics are provided as needed.
Anything else you want our readers to know?
If you would like to know more about Lallemand Health Solutions, what’s trending in the dietary/food supplements industry and be amongst the first to know about the novelties, follow Lallemand Health Solutions LinkedIn page, which is weekly updated with new enticing content.