For the first time, Kemin Industries is offering a range of investments in its food and health businesses as part of a long-term plan to expand into new opportunities across the natural products industry. Planned expansions include hemp-based ingredients for food and beverages, as well as enhancements to current product offerings which will make them more efficacious and scientifically validated through advanced biomarker testing.
“Kemin is a company that has innovated nutrition and health solutions for over 60 years, but we’ve never been a company to rest on our laurels,” said Chris Nelson, president of Kemin Foods. “Our researchers have identified the opportunity to develop new products that meet changing consumer demands in the U.S. and around the world, especially in key areas of Asia. To realize these opportunities, it becomes necessary to expand our investment platforms.”
Nelson will lead Kemin’s expansion into hemp-based ingredients for consumer food products. With support from the company’s Global Innovation Center (GIC) in Des Moines, IA , he will build on existing relationships with suppliers and producers of hemp ingredients in Canada, Europe and Asia.
“The food industry has grown exponentially over the past decade,” Nelson said. “It’s given rise to product demand driven by formulations that not only satisfy consumer taste but also address specific health concerns. For example, the move toward functional foods is reflected in increased consumption of so-called ‘superfoods’ such as pomegranates and blueberries, which have been identified by the research community to have antioxidant properties. Consumers are demanding more clean labels with no artificial ingredients or flavors.”
Hemp is a plant that has a long history of being cultivated for a range of consumer products including textiles, paper, construction materials and bio-fuel. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil also contain a number of essential nutrients and phytonutrients such as omega fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals.
“As we continue to expand our portfolio through partnerships with food ingredient suppliers across the globe, we’re looking for companies that share our commitment to quality,” said Nelson. “Through our investments, we are building a portfolio that will define the future of clean label products.”
Kemin is also investing in its existing operations to expand product efficacy through biomarker testing. The company’s current research efforts involving so-called “second generation” products have shown significant results for an array of health benefits including improved cognitive function and cardiovascular health.
“Biomarker testing is creating a new standard for nutraceutical product development,” said Nelson. “In order to stay competitive in this space, we have been investing in advanced research and technology development to help us better understand how current products can be enhanced with additional benefits through biomarker testing.”
Kemin currently has a portfolio of more than two dozen food and health ingredients that it distributes to global markets through its subsidiaries such as Kemin Ingredients, KM Ingredients and DSM Nutritional Products.