AAK is expanding its business via acquisitions and partnerships, according to two press releases.

The company has agreed to purchase BIC Ingredients, the lecithin arm of BIC International Holding. BIC Ingredients supplies non-GM specialty lecithin and lecithin compounds. AAK will integrate the products into its Akolec brand of specialty lecithins.

Alec van Veldhoven, Commercial Director at AAK Natural Emulsifiers, said in the press release: “BIC Ingredients is a natural fit with our business. BIC’s existing lecithin customers will now be able to benefit from AAK’s unique customer co-development approach, which is driven by customer needs, built on collaboration, and geared for better success rates and lasting value. By expanding our portfolio further, we will be able to create even better solutions in close collaboration with our customers globally.”

Harro de Groot, CEO of BIC International Holding, added: “I am pleased for our customers that BIC’s lecithin business will now be integrated into AAK’s co-development approach, focusing on finding solutions for the customers we serve, alongside our current high standards of quality assurance. My team and myself will remain involved in the business and will continue to support AAK’s Natural Emulsifiersteam over the next three years. This transaction will further enable BIC International Holding to increase its focus on plant-based protein through our entity BIC Protein."

Related: AAK Expands Program Supporting Women in the Shea Industry AAK, Vista Partner to Meet Plant-Based Demand in India Prinova Acquires Food & Beverage Ingredient Supplier

In a separate press release, AAK announced that the company is entering a strategic partnership with Progress Biotech to supply its algae-based DHA for infant formula.

Progress Biotech secured Infant Novel Food approval in the EU for its algal DHA in May 2021.

Jaap Peters, Founder of Progress Biotech, said in the press release: “I am proud that AAK has chosen to partner with Progress Biotech to take our algal oil to the global infant formula market. We now look forward to working closely with AAK in growing the DHA algal oil business.”

The DHA has a neutral taste and color, while offering a vegan-friendly option. The press release adds that the product has a far lower environmental impact than DHA sourced from fish.

The microalgae are sourced from the sea, but the production is carried out in a closed environment, minimizing environmental impact while allowing for quality and purity control.

Dr. Raimund C. Hoenes, AAK’s Head of Global Special Nutrition, said: “This partnership means we can offer infant formula manufacturers a plant-based DHA oil that meets the highest demands on quality. Our algal DHA also has neutral taste and color, which is difficult to achieve with alternatives based on fish oil. Having evaluated the DHA oil market, we chose Progress Biotech as our strategic partner because it shares our values on quality, sustainable sourcing, and the importance of a flexible supply chain. By combining the strengths of our companies, we bring an exceptional offer to the market.”