MALMÖ, SWEDEN — AAK is taking advantage of an “opportunity pipeline” in plant-based product development. The Malmö-based supplier of vegetable oils and fats in June 2019 launched AkoPlanet, a new portfolio of systems that allow food manufacturers to develop plant-based alternatives to products within the meat, dairy and ice cream segments.

“We have seen a strong growth with regards to the plant-based industry, and we also see a strong growth with regards to our opportunity pipeline,” said Johan Westman, president and chief executive officer, in a Jan. 30 earnings call. “We doubled the pipeline between quarter two and quarter three, and between quarter three and quarter four, we doubled again. So it is, for sure, a strong pipeline development, and we do see fast movements within the industry of plant-based foods.”

He said AAK and its customers work in co-development projects that may be as short as a month or as long as half a year or a year.

“So in other words, we do get more and more requests for ‘Can you produce this? Are you able to supply us with this solution?’” Mr. Westman said. “So in that sense, it is an indicator of the growth of the industry and indicator of the interest in plant-based oils and fats in this industry.”

In AAK’s 2019 fiscal year, operating profit of SEK2,142 million ($222 million) compared to SEK1,956 million in the previous fiscal year, an increase of 10%. Net sales rose 3% to SEK28,510 million ($2,956 million) from SEK27,592 million.

Within AAK’s food ingredients segment, operating profit in fiscal year 2019 increased 13% to SEK1,366 million from SEK1,205 million in the previous fiscal year. Net sales rose 3% to SEK18,978 million from SEK18,468 million.

In the fourth quarter companywide, operating profit of SEK562 million was up 9% from SEK516 million in the previous year’s fourth quarter. Fourth-quarter net sales rose 6% to SEK7,380 million from SEK6,992 million.