AAK, manufacturer and supplier of edible oils, fats and semi-specialty oil ingredients, has opened a customer innovation centre in Hull.

The King George Dock premises features a large test bakery, demonstration kitchen and conference and office facilities, which are designed to help the team take their “co-development work to the next level”. 

Gary Hughes, head of customer innovation for AAK UK, described co-development as “central to our business proposition”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

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.”