As pure vanilla and flavor specialists, our story is over a hundred years in the making...
1900s - The Founding of Our Company
Founded in 1907 as Massey's, by Otis Kline and Richard Massey in Sterling, Illinois, our company originally focused on the manufacture of aromas for cleaning chemicals.
1910s-1920s - Hello Chicago, Hello Chatfield Nielsen
A decade later our production facility moved to Webster Avenue in Chicago to be near a transportation hub and Chatfield Nielsen, Sr. joined Richard Massey. Under their shared leadership, our company focused on offering a variety of vanillas and flavors to primarily food manufacturers.
1950s-1960s - Passing of The Baton
Upon the passing of Richard Massey, Chatfield Nielsen purchased the company from the Massey family in 1954. Four years later, his son, Chatfield Jr. (Chat), joined the business and by 1963 was appointed vice president. At this time, the Nielsens also changed the name to Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.
1970s - The Pure Vanilla Specialists
Chat succeeded his father as president and focused on becoming the Pure Vanilla Specialists, producing only natural, pure vanilla products. Chat's wife, Camilla, joined him in 1979.
2000s - Bringing Flavor Back
In 2005, we revisited our earlier roots by introducing flavors once again, but this time in the form of new Pure Flavor Extracts, which feature all-natural botanical extractives in an alcohol base. Upon Camilla's retirement, Craig and Matt took over leadership of the company with Camilla remaining chairman of the board. In 2006, we were recognized as one of the first ingredient companies in the US to be Gluten-Free Certified for the production of our pure vanilla and flavor products. Also that year, Beth Nielsen joined her siblings in managing the family company.
2010 - Expanding US & EU Facilities
In 2012, we expanded our Waukegan, Illinois-based headquarters, nearly doubling manufacturing, storage and office space while adding a state-of-the-art test kitchen. The following year we moved our European operations to a newly renovated facility in Leeuwarden, Netherlands that tripled the size of the plant, enabling us to better handle yearly growth in the region. That same year we also introduced the first-of-its-kind Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, a product that is certified as being both good to the environment and the farmers who grow the vanilla beans.
2017 and beyond – 110 years of Nielsen-Massey
Having celebrated the 110th anniversary in 2017, third-generation owners Craig, Beth and Matt Nielsen carry on the esteemed Nielsen-Massey legacy. With demand for pure vanillas and flavors at all-time highs, our company established an outside board of directors and named Kirk Trofholz, a food industry veteran, as CEO. Together, we continue to produce only the finest pure vanillas and flavors while looking forward to what the next 110 years hold for our company.