AAK USA, a manufacturer of specialty vegetable fats and oils, has announced the opening of its newest Customer Innovation Center. The facility, located in Richmond, Calif., supports co-development work with multiple industry segment-focused labs and houses AAK’s U.S. Center of Excellence for Plant-Based Foods.
“AAK has over 15 Customer Innovation Centers worldwide and has opened multiple locations across the United States over the last several years,” said Octavio Diaz de Leon, president of AAK USA and AAK North Latin America. “Our Richmond Customer Innovation Center investment offers an additional 2,000 square feet of co-development space and delivers on our commitment to providing our customer-partners coast-to-coast service and support.”
AAK’s Customer Innovation Center in Richmond is staffed with an expansive team of product development experts who have a deep understanding of the many roles that fats and oils play in a customer’s formula and in their process, labels, and value chains. This team utilizes the same or similar equipment a customer would use, enabling AAK to provide hands-on co-development to tackle issues with formulas, ingredient statements, nutrition, processes, and products.
The new Customer Innovation Center includes the bakery lab, where the AAK team tests and experiments with new and current product offerings to bring prototypes straight to customers, to expedite bakery innovation and speed to market. It also comprises the dairy and plant-based foods lab, which includes all of the equipment necessary to develop dairy products using vegetable fats in place of dairy fat, as well as products that are 100% plant-based foods that provide the appearance, texture, mouthfeel, and flavor delivery expected by consumers.
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