French consumers have St. Louis to thank for this summer’s trendy new treat there.
Yoplait, one of the world’s largest producers of yogurt, and Solae, the St. Louis-based world leader in soy protein research, have combined their expertise to offer Bioplait, a soy yogurt that (according to the press release) comes in strawberry, “original,” and peach, to health-conscious Parisians. There’s a big TV ad campaign — and the requisite French controversy over the product’s name.
That a St. Louis company is a player in the global economy is not surprising. We are already the headquarters city for several world market heavyweights. Think “beer,” for one.
But, bringing the Solae world headquarters to St. Louis was an important element in a wider strategy to become a major international capital of agricultural and bio-tech research — a possibility because of the presence of Wash U, MoBot, the Danforth Plant Center, and the legacy of Ralston.
Three years ago, a newly formed Solae began looking for a place to create an administrative headquarters and a new research center.
In March 2003, the City of St. Louis and the state of Missouri submitted coordinated proposals to Solae designed to induce them to expand here. The combined incentives — a mix of abatements, bonds, loans, and credits included in this offer were complex, and were intended to encourage Solae to make St. Louis their most important center of both administration and research.
Solae has not yet used all of its incentives, but its continuing growth has already meant hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of economic impact.
Landing Solae is a good example of a strategy we need to perfect.