BELGIUM- AAK, the renowned specialty oil ingredients supplier headquartered in Sweden, has inaugurated a state-of-the-art innovation center in Antwerp, Belgium, focused on bakery applications. 

With a grand unveiling on February 21, this cutting-edge facility stands poised to redefine the landscape of bakery innovation, equipped with a seasoned team dedicated to collaborative development alongside customers in the bakery sector.

The newly established innovation hub boasts a fully equipped laboratory, serving as a dynamic crucible for the co-creation of pioneering bakery solutions. 

AAK, known for its value-adding ingredients spanning a diverse array of sectors including chocolate & confectionery, dairy, plant-based foods, special nutrition, food service, and personal care, aims to leverage the center’s capabilities to drive breakthroughs in the bakery domain.

In addition to its core function as an incubator for novel bakery formulations, the center will serve as a beacon of knowledge dissemination through practical courses and immersive showcases via the AAK Bakery Academy. 

This holistic approach underscores AAK’s commitment not only to product innovation but also to fostering a culture of learning and collaboration within the industry.

Johan Westman, President, and CEO of AAK, expressed his excitement about the center’s potential to catalyze innovation and drive sustainable growth in the European bakery sector. 

The future of food and food ingredients is poised for a surge in innovation,” remarked Westman. “With our global innovation network expanding and our plant-based multi-oil ingredient solutions at the forefront, we are well-positioned to partner with customers in shaping the future of bakery innovation.”

Earlier this February, AAK unveiled its impressive financial performance for the year 2023, marking a period of substantial progress and growth. 

With a remarkable 43% increase in operating profit, building upon a 21% growth in the preceding year, AAK exceeded its target of an average EBIT growth of around 10%. 

This achievement underscores the company’s position as a dynamic Multi-oil Ingredient House and reflects the efficacy of its strategic alignment and internal optimization efforts.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, AAK witnessed a robust 47% growth in operating profit, propelled by stellar performances in Food Ingredients and Chocolate & Confectionery Fats. 

While Technical Products & Feed experienced a decline, the overall outlook remained buoyant, with operating profit increasing by 50% at fixed foreign exchange rates.

Despite a 4 percent decline in volumes compared to the same period last year, AAK demonstrated resilience and profitability, with operating profit per kilo reaching SEK 2.08 (US$0.2). 

This notable achievement was attributed to internal optimization projects and astute portfolio & price management strategies, underscoring the company’s commitment to driving value and sustainability across its operations.

With a strong operational cash flow bolstering its financial performance, AAK remains steadfast in its mission to unlock new frontiers of innovation and deliver value to customers and stakeholders alike. 

The inauguration of the innovation center in Antwerp heralds a new era of collaboration, creativity, and growth for AAK and the broader bakery industry.

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