Kemper Foods International thrives on creating poppable, shareable, on-the-go, fun food. To be more exact, the New Albany, Ind.-based company specializes in 0.75- to 4.0-oz filled, encrusted baked snacks.
For breakfast, think about a blackberry jelly and cream cheese filled mini bagel. Or for lunch, picture turning a classic oversized Reuben sandwich into a fun, on-the-run snack.
“You can sit here and eat it until your tongue slaps your brain,” noted Mike Kemper, the company’s founder and chief executive officer. “It’s that outstanding.”
Mr. Kemper has created a culture that strives to upend the status quo. It’s not so much about disruption. Rather, it’s about melding product imagination with process adaptation to deliver something eye-catching to consumers as quickly as possible.
“It involves being first to the market, speed of innovation and not being afraid of change. ‘Be afraid of not changing;’ that’s what I try to instill in everyone here, every day,” he told Baking & Snack in its March report.
Kemper Foods’ ability to adjust on the fly allows the co-manufacturer to serve everyone from midsized to major consumer packaged goods companies and foodservice chains. The company runs production at rates that produce 1 million to 1.5 million or more products a day. To accommodate a wider breadth of accounts, Kemper Foods recently divided its operation into two plants in one building.
Starting in February, the larger plant manufactures nut-butter products while the smaller, nut-free, US Department of Agriculture-inspected facility can pump out snacks ranging from “killer beer cheese” in a pretzel to whatever product developers dream up. That’s how this fast-growing company makes little snacks that reap big rewards.