A company that makes ingredients used worldwide in food and pharmaceutical products announced a five-year $30-million expansion today for its headquarters in Des Moines. Kemin Industries president Chris Nelson says the expansion will create 98 new jobs and six new buildings at the southeast Des Moines facility.

Nelson says some of the jobs will be posted in the next couple of weeks and include all areas from research and development, finance/marketing and manufacturing. He says they will be recruiting worldwide for some of the jobs. Nelson says they hope to tap into two of the state universities to fill some of the jobs. He says Iowa State and the University of Iowa remain fertile areas to recruit.

Nelson says they consider it bringing Iowans back to the state. “We find it ideal after they have left the state, they’ve gotten married, they have one or two children, it’s a good time to bring them back to Iowa,” Nelson. Nelson says it’s important to expand the research and development area at their campus.

Nelson says they operate by having the chemists discover things in a lab and make them on a small scale.. He says they usually locate the factory near where they research and development to ramp things up to a larger scale because there are often “issues” when they do that, and they need the development people to work on them. Part of the expansion will be obtaining land from the City of Des Moines that is now used for the city’s maintenance operations.

Nelson says his company’s goal is to have everyone start the day with one of the company’s molecules in their body. He says one of the newest areas of research involved spearmint. Nelson says they are still in the research and development on it, but there is a particular component of spearmint called “rosmarinic acid”, which he says acts as a very effective antioxidant to keep fatty acids from becoming rancid. He says one of its biggest uses right now is in beer.

Nelson says the product works well as a preservative. He says you may’ve heard of “skunky beer” or beer that has been around too long and develops an off flavor. Nelson says rosamrinic acid can prevent beer from going bad. He says it can used in almost any product that has a lot of water in it to make the product last longer. The expansion comes as the company approaches its 50th anniversary in 2011. The company has 325 of its 1,200 or so employees in Des Moines.