AAK USA Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialty vegetable fats and oils, has opened a new, 2,500-sq.-ft. Customer Innovation Center in Louisville, Ky.

 “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,” said Terry Thomas, president of Edison, N.J.-based AAK USA. “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.”

“Our Customer Innovation team is fully staffed and utilizing our new capabilities in Louisville,” added Mark Becker, v.p. of sales & marketing. “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.”

The Louisville Customer Innovation Center features:

  • Bakery Lab – It will use AAK’s product portfolio to create customized 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 – This specially designed section will support the bakery segment with pilot scale samples of new products for customer applications testing and development. The pilot plant allows AAK to create functional shortenings and determine optimum processing conditions needed for new product development, driving innovative, value-adding customer solutions.
  • Analytical Lab – Ideally equipped for new product development testing with benchtop scale fats and oils equipment. 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,” Thomas said. “It joins AAKtion Lab, which is located in Edison 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.”