AAK has announced that it will build a ‘centre of excellence’ for plant-based foods at its existing site in Zaandijk, the Netherlands.
The three-story centre will feature two pilot plants, an analytical laboratory, a customer experience kitchen and a sensory suite, allowing customers to develop and bring plant-based food and beverages with AAK’s assistance.
AAK claims that the establishment of the Plant-based Foods Global Center of Excellence will further enhance its capabilities for plant-based food development, strengthening its presence in the fast-growing sector.
The centre is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.
This project follows the launch of AAK’s AkoPlanet portfolio last year, which includes tailor-made vegetable oil and fat solutions for food and beverage manufacturers that are developing plant-based meat and dairy products for the retail and foodservice channels.
Johan Westman, president and CEO of AAK Group, said: “Investing in this Plant-based Foods Global Center of Excellence reaffirms our commitment to grow our presence in this dynamic and fast-paced category.
“Acting as a knowledge centre for our plant-based activities, we will develop and showcase our plant-based innovations to support customers across the world.”
Niall Sands, president, plant-based foods at AAK, added: “The long-term outlook for plant-based foods is strong with sales growth outpacing that of other foods.
“This development is driven by several factors, among them a growth in flexitarianism, an increased focus on health and well-being, and sustainability and climate concerns among many consumers.”
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