EDISON, N.J. — As a provider of vegetable oils and fats, AAK USA Inc., is known for its co-development process and AAK Academy learning events, which provide opportunities to share knowledge and inspire product innovation. The company recently hosted a Bakery Academy at its newest Customer Innovation Center in Louisville, Ky., and a Confectionery Academy at its Chocolate and Confectionery Lab in Edison, N.J.

“Each Academy is led by our Customer Innovation Team, which puts together a series of short courses to provide training, knowledge and understanding of fats and their many functions in food products and processes,” said James Jones, Ph.D., vice-president of customer innovation, AAK USA Inc. “This includes everything from a course on fat chemistry to engaging lab demonstrations, with tips to enhance ideation all the way through to development, production and successful new product launches.”

This year at The Bakery Academy, Mintel shared data on consumer insight and the latest trends driving sales. After predicting flavor trends for the bakery segment, Tastepoint led a training session on flavor. Attendees participated in a hands-on experience with chiffon snack cakes, which encompasses AAK’s Flaked Shortening. AAK also demonstrated the benefits of five of its fats and oils, using shortbread as an example.

The Confectionery Academy included several hands-on demos that gave attendees the opportunity to work with AAK’s CEBES and SILKO brand fats for compound coatings and AAK’s CONFAO brand for fillings fats. Kemin Food Technologies also presented its antioxidants that meet desired shelf life in confectionery applications.

“We are very pleased with the feedback we received on both Academies,” Dr. Jones said. “We value our customer partnerships and are thrilled to have the opportunity to engage in these practical hands-on training sessions. Attendees walk away with broader and deeper understandings and are better positioned to achieve success with their next new product innovation.”

More AAK Academies have been planned for 2019 at various locations, including the soon-to-open Global Center of Excellence in Plant-Based Dairy in Richmond, Calif.