Smail to Lallemand as team leader

by Josh Sosland
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MONTREAL — Dr. Virgil W. Smail has joined Lallemand/American Yeast as the leader of a team servicing functional nutritional food producers. The team, described by Lallemand/American as "small but growing," will be grouped in the company’s new Nutritional Food Ingredients division.

Dr. Smail has held a number of high profile positions related to the grain-based foods industry. From 1991 to 1994, he was the director of the Manhattan, Kas., Grain Marketing Research Laboratory of the Agricultural Research Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dr. Smail was president and chief executive officer of the American Institute of Baking from 1994 until 2004. Until this past January he was head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University.

Rapidly rising industry and consumer interest in health and nutrition was the driving factor prompting Lallemand to create the new position to be filled by Mr. Smail, said Gary Edwards president of Lallemand/American Yeast Division.

"This is a position created to support and seize upon the growing demand on Lallemand by its food industry partners seeking to develop foods that answer consumers’ interests in better nutrition and the contribution to their health," Mr. Edwards said.

Toward meeting this rising demand, Lallemand will coordinate ongoing programs in Europe, South America, South Africa and North America to develop healthful food ingredients based on Lallemand bacterial and yeast probiotics, nutritional yeasts, antioxidants, fibers, fractions of yeasts and other complementary ingredients.

"The aging boomer generation as well as the better educated generations worldwide are showing more and more interest in health eating and obtaining energy, gut health and longevity from food products," said Jean Chagnon, president of Lallemand.

Mr. Chagnon noted that Dr. Smail has served for several years as an adviser for Lallemand’s health food industry efforts. In his new position, Dr. Smail will be based in Kansas City.

Dr. Smail received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Earlham College, Richmond, Ind. He received his master of science degree in agronomy and a Ph.D. in crop breeding specializing in wheat genetics, both from Montana State University, Bozeman.

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