It is the first innovation centre for AAK in the UK, which also has sites in China and the US. The site at King George Dock boasts a large test bakery, demonstration kitchen, conference and office facilities.
Gary Hughes, head of customer innovation for AAK UK, said the centre would be a “game changer” and would enable AAK’s team to take their co-development work to the next level.
“Co-development is central to our business proposition,” he said.
“It means blending our own capabilities and experience with our customers’ skills and know-how, to produce unique value-adding solutions which really make a difference.
“A great example would be the work we have been doing on the development of butter alternatives. These specialist vegetable oil blends are helping our customers to improve the nutritional profile of their products, while controlling costs at a time of record-high butter prices.”
Jan Lenferink, president of AAK Europe, said: “It is testimony to the AAK UK team and to all of us that we are prepared to invest where we see business opportunities. The significant investment we have made in this centre is proof of our belief in the business.
“This is where we can invite customers, exchange ideas and create solutions. It is sure to be the envy of the industry.”
AAK supplies value-adding ingredients, vegetable oils and finished products to top retailers and food manufacturers, as well as many leading pub and restaurant chains.