AAK USA Inc., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high value-adding specialty vegetable fats and oils, today opened a new Customer Innovation Center located in Louisville, Ky. AAK’s investment further expands the company’s North American capabilities with a state-of-the-art bakery lab, pilot plant and analytical lab operated by an expanded team of customer innovation experts.

“We have been working to expand our North American footprint by investing in facilities and capabilities dedicated to supporting our customer partners in each region,” says Terry Thomas, president, AAK USA Inc. “We recently shared news of capital investments AAK has made to update our Louisville facility, as we strive to improve our supply chain and better serve our customers. I am pleased to share that our Louisville Customer Innovation Center is now operational and represents another important milestone in AAK’s path to excellence as the leading supplier of specialty vegetable and plant-based fats and oils.

He adds, “Each step we take on this journey has been centered around fulfilling our co-development promise that we have made to our customer partners. This unique process allows our customer innovation team to work with customers to rapidly provide the forward-thinking innovation necessary to create products that consumers will love.”

Mark Becker is AAK’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“Our Customer Innovation team is fully staffed and utilizing our new capabilities in Louisville,” he says. “All aspects of the facility were designed around the stages of our ‘co-development’ process utilizing state-of-the-art technology, so that our team has the tools and resources readily available to support customer innovation and new product development. Our customer innovation team is able to overcome formulation challenges in days that customers might otherwise struggle with for months on their own.”

Thomas and Becker say the Louisville Customer Innovation Center features:

Bakery Lab–Utilizing AAK’s product portfolio to create customized value-adding vegetable oil solutions for customer applications resulting in new finished application prototypes. The lab enables rapid development and immediate testing of new product solutions to ensure functionality before plant trials and production. The current application focus includes biscuits, cakes, cookies, fillings, icings and toppings, frozen doughs, laminated products, pastries, pizzas and flatbreads, release agents and yeast-raised doughs.

Pilot Plant–Specially designed to support the bakery segment with pilot scale samples of new products for customer applications testing and development. This pilot plant allows AAK to create functional value-adding votated shortenings and determine optimum processing conditions needed for new product development, driving innovative value-adding customer solutions.

Analytical Lab–Featuring benchtop scale fats and oils equipment and testing for new product development. This analytical lab enables ideation and testing of a specific project, concept or market-driven solution, maximizing innovation potential.

“We are thrilled to have Louisville join our global network of facilities,” adds Thomas. “It joins AAKtion Lab, which is located in Edison, N.J., and offers both Bakery and Confection Labs. I am also happy to share news that construction at our new Richmond, Calif., facility is well under way and expected to open in the fall of 2018. Richmond will provide a new bakery lab dedicated to serving our West Coast customer partners. And, our new Global Center of Excellence dedicated to the dairy segment will also be located in Richmond. We will share additional news of the opening of the Richmond facility in the coming months.”

Visit www.betterwithAAK.com and www.aak.com for more information.

To see inside the Customer Innovation Center, click here.

About AAK

AAK is a leading provider of value-adding vegetable oils & fats. Our wide range of raw materials, broad process capabilities, and expertise in oils & fats within food applications enable us to develop innovative and value-adding solutions across many industries – Chocolate & Confectionery, Bakery, Dairy, Special Nutrition, Food Service, Personal Care, and more. AAK’s proven expertise is based on more than 140 years of experience within oils & fats. Our unique Co-Development approach brings our customers’ skills and know-how together with our own capabilities and mindset for lasting results. Listed on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm and with our headquarters in Malmö, Sweden, AAK has 20 production facilities and customization plants, sales offices in more than 25 countries and more than 3,000 employees.