AAK to build plant-based innovation hub in the Netherlands
27 November 2020
In line with its strategic direction, AAK will establish a global plant-based innovation center on the company’s premises in Zaandijk, the Netherlands. The center is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.
AAK has been operating there for decades and this strategic location, near Amsterdam in one of Europe’s largest food and agribusiness economies, offers proximity to many customers and industry peers, as well as the nearby “Wageningen Food Valley.”
“Investing in this Plant-based Foods Global Center of Excellence reaffirms our commitment to grow our presence in this dynamic and fast-paced category,” says Johan Westman, president and CEO of AAK.
“Acting as a knowledge center for our plant-based activities, we will develop and showcase our plant-based innovations to support customers across the world.”
Strengthening plant-based capabilities
To meet the fast-growing demand for plant-based foods, last year AAK launched its AkoPlanet by AAK portfolio with tailor-made vegetable oil and fat solutions for food and beverage manufacturers. The company is developing plant-based meat and dairy products for the retail and foodservice channels.
With the establishment of the Global Center of Excellence, AAK further strengthens its capabilities for plant-based foods. The three-story state-of-the-art center showcasing AAK’s co-development process will feature two pilot plants, an analytical laboratory, a customer experience kitchen and a sensory suite.
AAK joins MISTA
To accelerate innovation and drive further growth within the plant-based foods market, AAK has also joined the MISTA innovation platform, based in San Francisco, California, US.
Established in 2018, MISTA is an initiative that brings together the expertise of larger food and ingredients companies and selected start-ups to optimize ideas and investments. The start-ups within the MISTA platform include clean meat, plant-based, biotech and technology companies.
“Plant-based foods is not just a trend, rather it is rapidly becoming a mainstream lifestyle choice given its growth trajectory,” underscores Niall Sands, president of plant-based foods at AAK.
Strong outlook for plant-based foods
The long-term outlook for plant-based foods is strong, comments Sands. He notes that sales growth is 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.”
As plant-based trends reach global phenomenon status, Innova Market Insights’ annual Top Ten Trends report saw a renewal of the “Plant-Based Revolution” theme. As a natural progression, this years’ “Plant-Forward” theme spotlights expansion to different regions and categories in 2021.
Published by foodingredientsfirst.com on November 13, 2020
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