16050 Canary Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90638
Phone: (800) 442-4676
Kevin Salerno, President, HORN Human Nutrition
Established in 1961, HORN is North America’s premier distributor of specialty ingredients and raw materials. Its specialized team of technically expert and trained professionals serve dedicated market segments that encompass six distinct distribution business units including Nutraceuticals, FoodTech, Animal Wellness and Care Elements. HORN, an employee-owned/ESOP company and for more than 50 years, takes an entrepreneurial approach in serving its valued partners.
President of HORN Human Nutrition, Kevin Salerno leads the operations of this progressive division. There are two strategic business units in the division—HORN Nutraceuticals and HORN FoodTech—as well as Nutri Granulations, a manufacturing plant that provides engineered granulation solutions for various market applications and grades. Since assuming the title of president in 2003, Salerno has been instrumental in advancing the company’s industry presence and influence in the world of ingredients distribution. Nutri Granulations has also since become a leading FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)-licensed granulation facility.
NIE: HORN recently unveiled its human nutrition division. What was the company’s motivation to create the new division?
Salerno: Since HORN’s inception in the early 1960s, our company has tackled challenges and taken on opportunities with an entrepreneurial approach. It is part of HORN’s DNA. Our business ventures attest to our dedication of serving our partners and our industries. Nutri Granulations, HORN’s manufacturing arm, is a perfect example of HORN’s out-of-the-box problem-solving style. HORN took on this manufacturing plant that primarily processes calcium carbonate to become the economic and environmental solution to better serve West Coast customers when Proposition 65 changed the game for many industries including ingredients distribution. It is with that same entrepreneurial spirit that HORN reorganized our distribution business model. We recognized the natural crossovers within the markets of functional foods, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and other human nutrition markets and seized to fortify our efforts to strengthen our industry offering and presence. The HORN FoodTech business unit was under what was formally called our Ingredients Division. Bringing HORN FoodTech and HORN Nutraceuticals business units under one division solidifies our efforts, broadens our capabilities and provides a platform for HORN to further improve the way we serve our industries all while maximizing the business opportunities with existing partnerships. Additionally, the launch of HORN Human Nutrition also creates better synergies with the principal suppliers we proudly represent. It’s a win-win. And the response from our partners have been very positive.
NIE: What are the benefits that the industry is already experiencing from this reorganization?
Salerno: One of our most valued resources at HORN is our people—a team of technically expert and experienced professionals working and training closely with our world-class principal suppliers. The launch of HORN Human Nutrition division offers the industry a bigger team working in unison to carry out the strategies for serving our valued customers. This also means a larger product portfolio of best-in-class standard ingredients and innovative ingredients that target topics most relevant to today’s consumers. This includes functional ingredients and science-based innovations that address weight and blood sugar management, blood pressure and heart health, immunity, sports nutrition, bone health and women’s health, among others.
Under the HORN Human Nutrition division, both business units (FoodTech and Nutraceuticals) and their respective customers have access to our expert resources. I mentioned earlier that people are our most valued resources. An integral part of that team is Sandy Chien, PhD, HORN’s vice president of innovative products, who provides clinical expertise in identifying science-driven innovations and is also available for formulation support.
NIE: What other innovative ventures does HORN have in the pipeline?
Salerno: HORN offers many value-added benefits to the industry including innovations that parallel with our partners’ needs. Expect to hear more about HORN’s innovative technologies for alternative delivery systems and the release of Celera Nutrient Enhanced Gum which will be mass produced in our manufacturing plant in La Mirada, CA from the newly formed manufacturing and distribution partnership with NuCorp, LLC. We also have more innovative ingredients in the pipeline including a new distribution partnership with SloIron.
NIE: HORN is an independent, employee-owned organization. How do you think this has helped the company grow?
Salerno: Being an employee-owned/ESOP company is rare in business. Even more so in the distribution industry. Since HORN employees are the stockholders of the company, their ownership gives them a special sense of pride and responsibility to contribute to the success of the company, and to do right by our partners. Whether it’s collaborating with our principal suppliers or customers, HORN employees have a profound dedication to service because of our ownership status.
HORN was founded with an entrepreneurial spirit. Jack Horn and Gene Alley were innovators when they raised the bar for transparency in the 1960s. The concept of transparency was unheard of back then. But this business strategy nurtured trust and open doors to establish long-term partnerships with some of the top manufacturers in the world. HORN’s innovative approach to service, combined with our employee-owned status, gives us the ability to respond quickly to opportunities and execute strategies that improve on traditional business models. We don’t have a large corporation that ties our hands so HORN has the ability to embrace challenges that other distribution companies may be unable to take on.