Corn refiners use shelled corn which has been stripped from the cob during harvesting. Refiners separate the corn into its components — starch, oil, protein, and fiber — and convert them into higher value products.

Corn sweeteners are the most important refined corn products. Last year, corn sweeteners supplied nearly 50 percent of the U.S. nutritive sweetener market. 

The second major refined corn product category is feed. Refined corn feed products provide protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins to feed the cattle, fish, hogs, and poultry that enrich our diets.

The third major corn product — a mainstay of the industry and of the U.S. economy — is starch. Americans rely on corn refiners for over 90 percent of their starch needs.

Corn oil, which is high in mono and poly unsaturated fats, has gained attention as a top choice for reducing saturated fat and trans fat in numerous food products.

Ethanol, which is gaining increasing acceptance as a cleaner burning option for motor fuels, is another important product. Approximately 10 percent of ethanol produced in the U.S. is made by the corn wet milling industry. 

Corn refining is America’s premier bioproducts industry, with increasing production of amino acids, antibiotics, vitamins, and biodegradable plastics adding further value to the U.S. corn crop.