The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly-established Kemin Industries facility in North Judson drew an unexpectedly large crowd as more than 50 people turned up to celebrate the new industry brought to the town.
Kemin is an innovative bioscience company dedicated to manufacturing ingredients that provide nutrition and health benefits for humans and animals alike. Through their commitment to feed and food safety, the company manufactures more than 500 specialty ingredients for the global feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition, and beauty markets.
R.W. and Mary Nelson founded Kemin in 1961 and since then, it has grown from a small operation to a company with more than 1500 employees worldwide and 17 manufacturing plants in eight countries.
R.W. Nelson says they have isolated a molecule in spearmint that they will soon be using in deli meats or a variety of other foods, and he says they also plan to market it to their pet food group and possible the pharmaceutical group as well.
Nelson says the molecule has some very interesting applications.
“It’s basically an antioxidant, and what we believe it will do as far as some of the animal research that we’ve already investigated, would be to improve cognition,” he said. “Cognition is critical to the way you think and the way you live, and it improves it as far as us older people are concerned.”
Attendees at the event included State Representative Nancy Dembowski, Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charles Weaver, Starke County Commissioner Dan Bridegroom, and many other public officials. Nelson said he was overwhelmed by the community support shown at the ribbon-cutting.
“Normally when we build a manufacturing plant somewhere, we’re lucky to have one person turn up,” he laughed. “We did a ribbon cutting at our factory in Singapore, and maybe we had one or two people turn out for that. It’s great Midwest hospitality!”