AAK USA Inc., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high value-adding specialty vegetable fats and oils, has opened a new Customer Innovation Center located in Louisville, Kentucky. 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.

Terry Thomas, president, AAK USA Inc. said, “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. 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. 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.”

“Our Customer Innovation team is fully staffed and utilizing our new capabilities in Louisville,” said Mark Becker, vice president 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–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,” added Thomas. “It joins AAKtion Lab, which is located in Edison, New Jersey and offers both Bakery and Confection Labs. I am also happy to share news that construction at our new Richmond, California 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.”