Kelatron Corporation: Making Mineral History
Kelatron Corporation, Ogden, UT, was founded 25 years ago and though the exact details of its history have faded over the years, it is clear the company is ready to lay a new foundation for the road ahead. In short, it is determined to establish a new history with its latest mineral developments for the dietary supplement and functional food industries.
The fact is, Kelatron has changed owners a few times since its founding. Its most recent owner is a private equity company called Hadley Capital, Chicago, IL, which purchased the business in 1999. “The interest in the company in the late 1990’s was a result of impressive market conditions in the realm of nutraceuticals, specifically dietary supplements,” said company president Robert Wilkins. “The growth at that time was phenomenal and these venture capitalists liked the products we were producing.”
What makes the company unique, according to Mr. Wilkins, is its ability to modify different minerals for specific product applications. “We can change their physical characteristics to suit the needs of both dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers. Our customers rely heavily on our research and development team to help them create innovative formulas. To that end, we have worked really hard to fashion ourselves as a one-stop shop for minerals.”
Another advantage the company has is its capability to store inventory for its customers. “They really appreciate this offering from Kelatron because holding inventory is such a huge expense,” Mr. Wilkins said. “This allows us to ship product quickly as opposed to waiting weeks to do so.”
With a capacity to manufacture up to 15,000 kilos of mineral supplement powders per day, Kelatron considers itself a world leader in mineral nutrition. Kelatron is capable of manufacturing custom formulations from start to finish in less than two weeks. Furthermore, every batch manufactured at the company adheres to strict guideline specifications based on the product code manufactured. Each batch is tested for assay, physical chemistry and microbiology, according to product specifications at Miller Laboratories, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kelatron.
Right now the company is putting a lot of effort toward the food industry, especially in the realm of fortification. “We are working with cereals, drinks, milk and other food products, and have come up with some patented products along these lines,” Mr. Wilkins said. “One of our latest developments is a soluble iron product, which we developed for the international market, particularly South America, Africa and Eastern Europe.” As the name implies, Kelatron has been able to work with this iron source to make it soluble and therefore more bioavailable. The company has also had some success in masking the taste of the product. As a result, Mr. Wilkins said, “We are working with several different companies around the globe to test a milk fortified with this type of iron. Iron deficiency is a huge problem in third world countries, so we think this product will be very popular going forward.”
In the supplement arena, Kelatron is working on both human and animal applications incorporating L-selenomethionine, a new mineral for the company. It is currently being marketed to support cancer prevention. Other proprietary minerals are being positioned to assist in muscle recovery.
From a business perspective, the company appears to be doing very well. In fact, Mr. Wilkins claims Kelatron has grown 35% over the last five years. In addition, its physical size has doubled. “We recently added a new 13,000 square foot warehouse and moved into a new corporate office. Additionally, our international business has really taken off over the last two years. We now ship to Asia, Europe, Canada, South America and Australia,” he said.
So what are Mr. Wilkins’ hopes for the industry moving forward? “I, along with probably many other companies in this industry, am very interested in seeing FDA publish the final rule on dietary supplement good manufacturing practices (GMPs),” he commented. “I think a lot of the problems the industry has at the present time are related to not having these standards in place. Once these regulations come out, the reputable companies like Kelatron will finally have something they can hang their hat on.” —R.W.
1675 West 2750 South
Ogden, UT 84401