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All hail vegan ‘butter!’ How AAK spread joy for manufacturers

5 min read
AUTHOR: Elisa Roche
AAK Imahe

A sustainable vegan butter application made in Britain has been widely praised by chefs, food technologists and recipe developers for its ‘brilliant’ like-for-like qualities in meals where dairy would normally be essential.

Industry professionals all over the UK were asked to sample Akofame from AAK and make anything they liked, with many skeptical, die-hard butter lovers admitting they were converted. Samples of the ‘butter’ were sent to a wide-range of cooks and food developers and, deliberately, even to meat eaters and classic pastry chefs, so that Akofame could really be put to the test.

With butter prices soaring, supply shortages, a cost of living crisis and more people wanting to eat plant-based foods, Akofame presents a fantastic solution for manufacturers who want to offer rich and luxurious dishes for less.

In association with Food Matters Live, the product drop was a first for the industry because Akofame was shared not only with industry manufacturers and brands such as Nomad Foods and the Co-Op group, but also with food stylists and consumer influencers such as former Buzzfeed Tasty Head Tristan Fisher and cookbook author Elisa Rossi, known as @happyskinkitchen to her 333k followers on instagram.

Keiron George, an award-winning former Hotel Café Royal pastry chef who starred in Bake Off :The Professionals in 2021, said “This has the same buttery smell, taste and acts just like the real thing!” after whipping up a batch of golden fruity breakfast waffles, “Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference.”

Meanwhile Fisher, who now runs production company EATLY Creations, also loved it. “The butter was great to work with, it melted the same and provided the same richness as conventional butter. I’d love to try a salted butter version!” he said.

AAK Recipes

Photos taken from Instagram: @eatlycreations and @emiliastrazza

Photos taken from Instagram: @eatlycreations and @emiliastrazza

Liz Howard from Ugo Food Group saidWe have tried this in a pastry recipe and were really impressed with the product. The butter replacer was easy to work with and the final pastry had a great even colouring, a short crumbly texture and the flavour was balanced as well.

It worked well on our bread. I have discussed with our development chef, and we will look to use this in future vegan pasta development.

On social media alone, the product drop and the resulting beautiful recipes and imagery created by food creatives reached more than 350,000 users and video content was seen more than 32,00 times.

Akofame VB is a palm free, non-hydrogenated advanced butter alternative for the industry that can be used like-for-like in any recipe other than for pastries that require lamination. It is not on sale as a consumer product and was designed for large scale industry use to help develop both vegan and vegetarian meals or for use in dishes for the lactose intolerant.

With its core ingredients built around shea butter and rapeseed, Akofame has the same pale yellow glossy sheen as butter, melts just like the real thing and adds richness to fudge, cookies, pastry cases and curry sauces just like dairy butter can.

It is ambient and does not have to be refrigerated, making it extremely versatile for transport and storage. When kept unopened in a cool dry place at around 14 – 18°C, or room temperature, Akofame can last four and a half months.

Food photographer Hannah Slaney and food stylist Jaonna Reisak got stylish with their sample of Akofame, making a bright yellow multi layered cream cake and turning it into a video animation for instagram. “It didn’t need refrigeration and it tasted great!” said Hannah.

Photos taken from Instagram: @memyselfand_pie and @rosefooks

Photos taken from Instagram: @memyselfand_pie and @rosefooks

Meanwhile, travel industry food expert Heerum Fleary, the founder of TickEat, said she was grateful to have discovered something new and exciting that could possibly work for her international clients.“(I was) absolutely impressed by how the butter looks like ‘real’ butter, smells like ‘real’ butter and furthermore it actually tastes just like butter,” said the founder, “I used this butter on toast, cooked with it and it tasted just as good as other butters if not better! Thank you for allowing me to try this out.”

And leading food stylist Georgie Hodgson was surprised that Akofame, “…felt creamy, like normal butter. “I love how spreadable it is – it glides onto bread beautifully. Would make an excellent sandwich base,” she added, “Really handy that the product can be kept ambient – and I really like that it is a lower-carbon, lower energy cost solution to butter. This is often something I look for these days, as I (like many) am trying to eat more sustainably.”
“I think you’re always going to struggle to get that ultra creamy, milk taste that you get from normal dairy butter, with a plant based alternative. But I would say that of the ones I’ve tried, this performs really well in comparison to other vegan butters.”

And it seems the ‘butter’ fared well in classic pastry dishes too. Emma Wrigley from Nomad Foods tried Akofame in a pastry recipe, saying she was “really impressed with the product.”

“The butter replacer was easy to work with and the final pastry had a great even colouring, a short crumbly texture and the flavour was balanced as well,” she said.

According to a recent Future Market Insights report, the world vegan ‘butter’ market value is set to almost double within the next decade. The current market is valued at $2.7 billion and this is projected to surpass US$ 4.8 Bn by 2032. And while many manufacturers are concentrating on developing vegan butter alternatives that are based in nuts or oats, AAK’s application is suitable for a much wider market thanks to its lack of allergens.

When compared to animal-based dairy butter, the plant-based ingredients that are used to make vegan butter use far fewer resources and emit far fewer emissions, making it an easily more sustainable choice for manufacturers who want to appeal to consumers who are well informed, caring and concerned about the planet.

With its headquarters in Malmö, Sweden, AAK has been specialising in plant-based oils and “Making Better Happen™” for more than 150 years. Its star product Akofame is made entirely in the UK.

At the heart of AAK’s offer is collaboration with clients to make products that work uniquely for them. Akofame is suitable for both vegetarian & vegan applications and does not contain any genetically modified ingredients or hydrogenated fats.