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AAK International has opened a new Customer Innovation Centre in Hull to take its co-development work with leading food brands to new levels of success.

AAK, the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of edible oils, fats and semi-speciality oil ingredients, works in close partnership with some of the most famous names in food and bakery to create bespoke ingredients and finished products.

Jan Lenferink, President AAK Europe, visited the UK to officially open the new Customer Innovation Centre, praising the Hull team who had taken the project from plans to completion in just three weeks.

The new CI Centre comprises a large test bakery, an ultra-modern demonstration kitchen, and conference and office facilities. It is a first for AAK in the UK and, said Jan, customers will be “royally impressed”.

He said: “This is an extremely joyful day for AAK and for Hull. Investments like these show we truly are the Co-Development Company.

“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.”

Gary Hughes, Head of Customer Innovation, AAK International, said the centre would enable AAK's Customer Innovation 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, whilst controlling costs at a time of record-high butter prices.”

Gary added that the new centre would consolidate Hull’s position as a leading player in the country’s food industry.

“This new, purpose-built Customer Innovation Centre will enable us to take co-development to the next level. I believe that it will be a game changer for our sector.”

AAK supplies value-adding ingredients, vegetable oils and finished products to all the main retailers and food manufacturers, and to many leading pub and restaurant chains.