COVID-19: Yeast production facility in Calgary rising to the challenge

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A local yeast plant has risen to the occasion to meet a spike in demand related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With yeast at the heart of the bread-making process and loaves flying off the shelves, Calgary’s AB Mauri factory in the city’s southeast has operated at 25 per cent over capacity to bring its product to stores across North America.

Plant manager Gerald Ripley said the initial spike in demand took place mid-March and is only now returning to normal.

“When things started shutting down, it was an initial panic-buy when people went to the grocery store and saw empty shelves so they started buying a bit extra, like fresh bread,” said Ripley, adding most people aren’t aware how crucial the Calgary facility is to ensuring shelves are stocked.

“For our plant here in Calgary, we cover all of western Canada from Manitoba to Vancouver and the pacific northwest U.S. down to northern California.”

The facility produces the well-known AB Mauri brand, Fleischmann’s Yeast, which is supplied to large industrial bakeries, medium-sized businesses and smaller artisan or mom and pop shops. It supplies over 90 per cent of yeast, creamed or packaged, for the Alberta and B.C. market.

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