AAK opens Innovation Center of Excellence to develop plant-based foods and ingredients
Speciality fats and oils producer AAK has opened an Innovation Center of Excellence to develop plant-based foods and ingredients.
The new space is located close to its production facilities in Zaandijk, the Netherlands.
The Innovation Center of Excellence boasts a range of sensory, culinary and pilot plant facilities, giving the company the opportunity to work with international customers to make new, innovative plant-based products and get them to market faster.
Niall Sands, AAK’s President of Commercial Development and Innovation said in a statement: “We have renovated a riverside warehouse to create a purpose-built facility where we can work with our customers, co-develop new ideas and test them in our pilot plants and culinary kitchen, obtaining results and feedback quickly to support product development and iterative prototyping. We believe successive incremental product improvements are key to the long-term success of the plant-based food categories.”
Work has already started in the new space according to Sands, where AAK’s employees are testing out new techniques that can improve the nutritional profile, flavour, sustainability and functionality of plant-based products.
He added: “We are excited by their potential to make a positive difference to our customers’ products and processes as we strive to make better happen from plant to brand.”
The company’s ingredients are used in a variety of food applications – giving silky mouthfeel to chocolate, juicy texture to a plant-based burger and a puffier appearance in low-fat pastries.
AAK announced its proposal to establish a plant-based Innovation Center of Excellence in Zaandijk in 2020, in a bid to meet the growing consumer demand for plant-based food, drink and ingredients.