AAK Unveils Customer Innovation Centre @ Biopolis

Monday, October 1st, 2018

On Thursday, 27 September 2018, AAK inaugurated its new Customer Innovation Center in Singapore to further strengthen its capabilities and customer co-development approach in the Southeast Asian market. The company has similar centers across the world in which it works closely with customers to develop value-adding vegetable oil solutions.

During the opening event, the APFI team spoke to AAK’s CEO, Johan Westman, regarding the motivation behind setting up a Customer Innovation Centre in Singapore.

Mr Westman: “Asia is a key growth region with a rapidly increasing population that is in search of healthy, functional and nutritional food solutions. At AAK, we’re able to cater to these needs through our specialty solutions—chocolate & confectionery, bakery and dairy fat alternatives—to create high-quality end products that positively impact our customer’s well-being as well as deliver an indulgent experience.”

“At Biopolis, we are surrounded by similar innovators, which enables our customers to reach us easily.  It would be difficult to have a customer innovation centre in every country in the world, so we create them in regional hubs. For example, we operate in Latin America, North America, Europe and Asia. So, Singapore is a natural hub for us to create lasting relationships with our customers in Southeast Asia in particular.”

How does the centre improve AAK’s portfolio/market reach within Asia?

Mr Westman: “Being close to our customers is key and instrumental in our co-development business model. Our new Customer Innovation Centre allows us to invite our customers into our labs to taste and feel the quality of our products in order to find the right solution for their needs.

“Asia specifically, is one of our key growth regions moving forward, which continues to strengthen our capabilities and recipes in the long run. We are now able to leverage expertise not only from our colleagues in Asia but all around the world in order to tailor products to deliver value to our customers.

“This Innovation Centre acts as a pillar for AAK’s continued growth in Asia.”

Did you face any challenges in the process?

Mr Westman: “There are always challenges! However, with the support of the Singapore government and the extremely passionate team we have at AAK, we were able to pull through. This is not our first innovation centre, so we’re using a kind of a standard set up, in relation to machine types and operational procedures.”