Strong result during another turbulent year
2022 will go down in history as a year of unrest and uncertainty when a global pandemic was followed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Record high costs for energy, transport and logistics, as well as high volatility in the commodity market, resulted in difficult challenges.
With AAK's strong business model and committed organization, we have successfully managed these challenges and delivered strong financial and non-financial results for the year. Operating profit for the full year, excluding items affecting comparison, increased by 21%, which means that we once again achieved our goal of increasing profit by around 10% per year.
This is an important milestone in our vision: to be the first choice for herbal oil solutions. AAK's portfolio strategy includes and prioritizes appropriate measures for each segment and ensures our continued relevance in the market.
Invest for continued growth
We continue to invest in the Chocolate & Confectionery Fats segment, which has shown continued growth with strong underlying market development.
Our platform for health and nutrition has developed well and entered this segment and at the same time merged with Special Nutrition where AAK has a strong position.
Invest for the future
We are convinced that the market for plant-based foods will develop positively in the long term. With AAK's newly opened innovation center for plant-based foods in Zaandijk, the Netherlands, we are well-equipped to continue helping our customers in their innovation efforts.
Within New Food Solutions, we want to invest in new technologies for food solutions, such as fermentation, cultivation and Power-to-X. We closely follow emerging technologies for oils and fats and carefully select those we invest in. Investments in Big Idea Ventures and Green-On are two examples that reflect the strategic direction.
The Personal Care and Technical Products segments are developing well. A strong underlying trend is a shift from fossil-based ingredients to alternatives driven by environmental factors, consumer preferences, corporate policies and legislation. AAK's goal is to invest in competence and innovations to take advantage of the opportunity in this transition.
Optimize to create value
We have optimized the Bakery, Dairy and Foodservice segments, which we will continue with going forward.
We will also, through product development, innovation and portfolio management, continue to take advantage of opportunities in the segments for specific value-enhancing products, in parallel with the fact that we continuously optimize our core business.
Maintain and Develop
We will continue to expand and develop strong regional market positions in our industrial portfolio, for example, we will continue to develop our value proposition and our expertise in Natural Emulsifiers.
Regarding Fishfeed and Feed, we offer the market products with strong added value.