EDISON, N.J. — Ramesh Reddy, Ph.D., has joined AAK as customer innovation manager. He will lead customer innovation activities for the Chocolate and Confectionery Fat (CCF) segments and be responsible for the fats and oils chemistry lab in Port Newark, N.J., as well as a new AAK innovation center scheduled to open in Edison in 2016.

In another AAK hire, Bryan Petrak recently was named customer innovation applications specialist. He will report to Dr. Reddy and work on the development and formulation of vegetable oil systems.

Ramesh Reddy
Ramesh Reddy, Ph.D., new customer innovation manager for AAK

Dr. Reddy has nearly seven years of experience in confectionery, lipid chemistry and health research. He joined AAK after serving as research and development manager at the Institute for Food Safety and Health in Bedford Park, Ill. Dr. Reddy previously worked as a post-doctoral scientist in lipid chemistry and health research at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and as a product development specialist in Nestle’s confectionery group in Marysville, Ohio. He has written more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and has issued a patent.

Dr. Reddy received a bachelor’s of science degree in food science and technology from A.N.G.R. Agricultural University in India, a master’s degree in food science and technology from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., and a Ph.D. in food science and nutrition from The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Brian Petrak, AAK
Bryan Petrak, new customer innovation applications specialist for AAK 

Mr. Petrak, a certified food scientist and culinologist, has more than 10 years of experience working for companies such as H.J. Heinz Co. and Tsudis Chocolate Co. Most recently he led the research and development department at NuGo Nutrition. Mr. Petrak received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harding University, a master’s degree in food science from Kansas State University in Manhattan, and an associate’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University.

“Ramesh’s thorough knowledge of lipid chemistry and extensive experience in the application of lipids in food formulation proves invaluable for AAK and our customers as we co-develop solutions to some of today’s toughest formulation challenges,” said Terry Thomas, president of AAK USA Inc. “And as we continue to expand our innovation capabilities, we trust that Bryan’s experience partnering with customers and vendors to select the right ingredients and coordinating sensory and clinical trials will further support customized solutions for our customers as we work side-by-side ‘co-developing’ to solve their unique formulation challenges.”