AAK fats and oils re-elects management board after quarterly results upturn

Global plant-based fats and oils group AAK has held its annual general meeting, confirming it will retain five directors for its operations, which include developing applications for premium chocolate series, reports Neill Barston.

The company re-elected Märta Schörling Andreen, Marianne Kirkegaard, Gun Nilsson, Georg Brunstam (as chair) and Patrik Andersson as directors.

In addition, the Swedish-headquartered company has released its latest quarterly results, delivering SEK 551 million (€542), an increase of 2%, with profit also rising 4% to SEK 400 million (€383).  Meanwhile, production volumes for the quarter were on a par  with last year and amounted to 569,000 MT (569,000).

Significantly, its chocolate and confectionery fats profits were also up 5% to SEK 233 million (€222), an increase by 5 percent, as its portfolio continued to expand. This was driven by its customer co-developed solutions. Demand in South Latin America and Russia picked up strongly during the quarter. The volume growth combined with implemented supply chain improvements resulted in a strong operating profit within this business area.

According to the company, the first quarter of the year has been characterised by a strong customer demand for its speciality and semi-speciality solutions, Special Nutrition, and Plant-based Foods.

While there were key gains for its confectionery applications, this was to some extent reportedly offset by lower volumes in Foodservice, which continues to be significantly impacted by Covid-19.

The business dynamics within Food Ingredients were reportedly mixed with growth for its high-end speciality solutions within Special Nutrition and Plant-based Foods, and our semi-speciality solutions within Dairy. However, Foodservice, and to some extent Bakery, continued to be negatively impacted by restrictions and lockdowns.

Furthermore, the company said that to  further accelerate the development of ingredient solutions for alternatives to meat and dairy products, it has partnered with Big Idea Ventures (BIV). Its investment in BIV’s New Protein Fund anticipates new collaboration opportunities with some of the most recognised players in the food industry.

Significantly, the business also noted continued development within its sustainability activities and our contributions towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This has included significantly increasing the number of women involved in Kolo Nafaso, its direct shea sourcing program in West Africa. The program, which has a very positive impact on the women and their families, now involves more than 320,000 people.

Another important achievement came with its verified deforestation-free palm increased by 92 percent during 2020 compared to the year before. The company said this was an important step towards sustainable palm oil, aiming for a supply chain that is 100% traceable to plantation and 100 percent verified deforestation-free by 2025.

We also continue our dedicated work to reduce our environmental impact and have recently decreased energy consumption, water consumption and waste per processed unit raw material. Furthermore, we have decided that ESG targets henceforth is included in the evaluation of the Executive Committee’s remuneration.

Renewed strategy

Moreover, the company recently unveiled a new corporate purpose – Making Better Happen. It is the result of an inclusive process involving more than 1,000 AAK employees across the world. At the same time, the company has launched a new visual brand identity that reflects the thinking behind the purpose.

In 2019, AAK agreed that there was a need for a unifying purpose to facilitate the delivery of the company’s vision to become the first choice for plant-based oil solutions in the sectors where it operates.

During the internal process, involving contributions from more than 1,000 employees, it became clear that AAK’s commercial philosophy is based on the simple goal of doing things better. AAK collaborates closely with its customers to understand what better means for them and how it can deliver on that – for example, by making their products better tasting, healthier, more sustainably sourced and more efficient to produce.

Another finding was that AAK’s way of doing business is geared towards making things happen. AAK’s new purpose brings together these two findings – doing better + making things happen – as Making Better Happen.

Johan Westman, President and CEO at AAK, said: “Our purpose – Making Better Happen – is all about the difference we want to make. We choose to be a purpose-driven business in the belief that long-term, sustainable growth goes hand-in-hand with making a positive impact. Central to AAK is a preference for the humbleness of ‘better’ in contrast to the boastfulness of ‘best’. Best breeds complacency, while better is a journey of continuous improvement. In fact, AAK truly believes that better has the potential to be more ambitious than best.”


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