products_made_with_cornMany of the products consumers enjoy daily get their start with corn: jams, jellies, sauces, marinades, cereals, condiments, canned fruits and vegetables, baked goods, meat products like bologna and hot dogs, yogurts, snack items, cough drops, antiobiotics, intraveneous solutions, toothpaste, paper, cosmetics and soap to name a few.  Corn-based ingredients provide a vast array of product choices to consumers, from foods and beverages to personal care items, from laundry care products to glues, ceramics, and textiles.  Corn serves as the primary starch source for a wide array of products.  Products made from corn have been present in the fabric of American lives since colonial days.

 The first corn refining company opened its doors in 1848 with a corn starch operation in New York.  By 1879, there were 140 starch factories in the United States to meet consumer demands for starch as a laundry aid and as a food ingredient.  Some of these firms also produced starch for the manufacture of corn sweeteners, particularly glucose or corn syrup used in the candy, baking, brewing and vinegar industries.  By 1906, only ten corn refining companies remained due to consolidations brought about by excess capacity, price pressures from imported starch sources, and a lack of patent protection for vital industry techniques.  For the next 60 years, the roster of corn wet milling companies remained essentially unchanged.  

 Today, innovation serves as the cornerstone of the corn refining industry as it searches for new and creative uses to meet consumer needs by adding dietary fiber to foods, creating ingredients that provide instant energy to patients with dietary restrictions, developing biodegradable packaging and plastics, and meeting the nation’s increasing energy needs with renewable sources. 

The next time you reach for your daily vitamin, buy groceries, use a personal care product, or fill your car tank with fuel, consider the beneficial impact that refined corn products have on your daily needs and well being.