All In Good Time
Kemin Foods, Des Moines, IA, is a subsidiary of Kemin Industries, which came into being approximately 40 years ago. The company was founded by R.W. Nelson with the goal of supplying ingredients to the animal feed industry. Over the years Kemin has expanded the business and its capabilities; Kemin Foods is the result of a spin-off that encompassed all products for human consumption. One of the goals for Kemin Foods, according to Rodney Ausich, president, is patience. “We will only develop products that are thoroughly tested and scientifically validated. So while we do not launch new products every month, when we do introduce a product, we know exactly how the product works and can effectively demonstrate its efficacy to our customers.”
Kemin, which is a pioneer in lutein with its “FloraGlo Lutein” product, became involved in the market when the company started the extraction of marigold flowers. Kemin had manufactured and sold lutein to the poultry industry—where it is used to pigment the skins of chickens and the yolks of eggs—for many years. Then in 1993 the company initiated a process to purify lutein and started to eye the dietary supplement and vitamin market as a viable business opportunity.
Approaching the dietary supplement industry, however, became even more of a push in late 1994. Mr. Ausich said, “Two very significant events occurred for this industry and lutein in the fall of 1994. First was the passage of DSHEA and second was the publication of a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that associated the consumption of vegetables high in lutein with a reduced risk of macular degeneration.”
In January 1995 Kemin was awarded a patent for the purification process of lutein and from there began looking for additional opportunities in the dietary supplement market. On January 1, 1996 Kemin Foods became an official legal entity and began to focus on expanding the awareness of lutein and its association with a reduced risk of certain eye diseases. In 1997 Kemin was awarded a second, much broader, patent on the purification process for lutein.
Building on the success of FloraGlo Lutein, Kemin recently introduced “Fortium” natural antioxidants. According to Mr. Ausich, “One of Kemin’s core competencies is our expertise in oxidation and the use of antioxidants. Foods are susceptible to oxidation and we have the capability to prevent this with our new Fortium natural antioxidants.” Fortium natural antioxidants contain mixed tocopherols and rosemary extract.
Developed for the food, dietary supplement, personal care and cosmetic industries, the Fortium brand was first introduced at the IFT show in June. Mr. Ausich explained, “The food industry is very aware of oxidation problems in food and manufacturers are looking for an antioxidant product with natural ingredients.” In terms of the supplement industry, Fortium natural antioxidants can preserve and maintain levels of the active ingredients in supplements.
Next on the antioxidant front for Kemin is a rosemary extract product. Mr. Ausich noted, “We have been developing a patented process for the extraction of rosemary for three years and we will be introducing products based on this rosemary extract in the first quarter of 2001.
For the future, Mr. Ausich commented, “The future looks bright at Kemin and we are proud of the road that we took to introduce the benefits of lutein to the vitamin and dietary supplement industry and make FloraGlo a household name.” Due to the success of FloraGlo, Kemin recently opened a new manufacturing plant to accommodate expanding production of its flagship product. Iowa senator Tom Harkin, a co-sponsor of DSHEA, spoke at the opening and cut the ribbon on the new facility. “Kemin is known throughout the nation for its tough quality standards for manufacturing,” remarked Senator Harkin during his opening speech.
2100 Maury St., P.O. Box 70
Des Moines, IA 50301-0070
Circle 100 on Reader Service Card.