AAK USA, a leading manufacturer of high value-adding specialty vegetable fats and oils, recently hosted two events that provided insight into the bakery and confectionery segments. A Bakery Academy took place at AAK’s newest Customer Innovation Center in Louisville, Kentucky and a Confectionery Academy took place at its Chocolate and Confectionery Lab in Edison, New Jersey.

“We were excited to have customers join us for our recent Bakery and Confectionery Academies,” said Dr. James Jones, Vice President Customer Innovation, AAK USA Inc. “Each Academy is led by our Customer Innovation Team who put together a series of short courses to provide training, knowledge, and understanding of fats and their many functions in food products and processes. 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.”

The Bakery Academy included a deep dive into consumer insight and trends driving sales in the segment, with Mintel sharing the latest data and trend forecasts. Tastepoint presented flavor trends predictions for the bakery segment and led a flavor training session. Attendees also learned more about AAK’s Flaked Shortening and the advantages of its use in sweet baked goods. Hands-on demos included a chiffon snack cake featuring AAK’s multi-function Shortening Flakes and a shortbread cookie experiment that demonstrated the unique finished product features and benefits of five different AAK fats and oils.

The Confectionery Academy included several hands-on application labs, and attendees learned more about compound coatings and filling fats. Several hands-on demos gave everyone the opportunity to work with AAK’s CEBESTM and SILKOTM brand fats for compound coatings, showcasing several AAK solutions to meet and exceed functionality and performance needs of finished consumer products. Filling fats were the focus of another consumer product demo in which attendees worked with a chocolate peanut butter filling made with AAK’s CONFAOTM brand of filling fats. Kemin Food Technologies also presented their range of antioxidants options that are available to meet desired shelf life in confectionery applications.

“We are very pleased with the feedback we received on both Academies,” said Dr. Jones. “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. AAK continues to support the industry, working side by side with customers at our Customer Innovation Centers. Our co-development approach and large toolbox of plant-based multi-source and function fats and oils are helping create—and accelerate the speed to market of—better-for-you foods that look and taste great.”