Nielsen-Massey Vanillas is on a mission to delight people with nature’s finest tasting vanillas and flavors.
As pure vanilla and flavor specialists, our story is more than a hundred years in the making. In business since 1907, the Nielsen-Massey brand has built an enviable reputation for the quality and consistency of its pure vanillas.
Click on the dates that appear on the timeline below for a glimpse into Nielsen-Massey’s rich, flavorful history.
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.
A decade later the production facility moved to Chicago's Webster Avenue to be near a transportation hub. Chatfield Nielsen, Sr., joined Richard Massey and, under their shared leadership, our company focused on offering a variety of vanillas and flavors to food manufacturers, primarily.
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 was appointed vice president in 1963. That same year, the company changed its name to Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. Chat succeeded his father as president and focused on making the company Pure Vanilla Specialists, producing only natural, pure vanilla products. Chat's wife, Camilla, joined him on the leadership team in 1979.
In 1984, the company moved to Lake Forest, Illinois. Two years later, in 1986, Craig Nielsen joined the company. His brother, Matt Nielsen, came on board in 1994. In 1992, Nielsen-Massey relocated its production facility to Waukegan, doubling the size of the facility and expanding production by 30 percent. Three years later, the company opened Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International, LLC, in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, to meet growing European demand. The same year, Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder was added to the product line. In 1998, Nielsen-Massey became the first company to introduce Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, combining the essence of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla with distinctive vanilla bean seeds in an all-natural base to create a new product with intense, delicious flavor that retains the full bouquet of pure vanilla.
In 2005, the company revisited its flavor roots by launching a new line of pure flavor extracts, including Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Orange and Peppermint. These flavors feature all-natural botanical extractives. Upon Camilla's retirement in 2005, Craig and Matt Nielsen took over leadership of the company, with Camilla remaining chairman of the board until 2016. In 2006, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas was recognized as one of the first ingredient companies in the US to be Certified Gluten-Free. Also in 2006, Beth Nielsen joined her siblings in managing the family company. Rose Water and Orange Blossom Water were added to the product line in 2007, after being requested from chefs and consumers who wanted the flavor waters from a trusted source. In 2008, the company introduced Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar—a flavorful blend of gourmet baker's sugar and the pinnacle of all vanillas, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract.
In 2012, the company again expanded its Waukegan, Illinois-based headquarters, adding a state-of-the-art test kitchen and nearly doubling manufacturing, storage and office space. The company also moved its European operations to a newly renovated facility in Leeuwarden, Netherlands in 2013. The facility is triple the size of the previous plant, enabling it to better manage yearly growth in the region. In the same year, Nielsen-Massey introduced the first-of-its-kind Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. Fairtrade certification assures fair wages to farmers and promotes sustainable environmental practices.
In 2017, with the company continuing to grow along with global demand for pure vanillas and flavors, the company's third-generation family owners, Craig, Beth and Matt Nielsen established an outside board of directors and named Kirk Trofholz, a food industry veteran, as CEO to guide Nielsen-Massey forward in the next phase of its development. Soon, the company will launch a line of Organic Pure Flavor Extracts, including: Almond, Orange, Lemon and Peppermint. Nielsen-Massey Vanillas remains committed to its proud tradition of producing only the finest quality pure vanillas and flavors, and intends to sustain its growth trajectory for decades to come.
Our passion for pure vanillas and flavors and our expertise in crafting them is a direct result of our history and the vision of our third-generation family leadership. Learn more about our company and Craig, Beth and Matt Nielsen below:
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Community Relations Initiatives:
Since 1907, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has demonstrated its commitment to civic and social responsibility. We believe we have a responsibility to invest in enhancing the quality of life for our Chicagoland and Southeast Wisconsin communities. Nielsen-Massey’s Community Relations initiatives encompass three main objectives: building relationships with the communities in which we live and work; showing our commitment through financial contributions to charities in support of education, youth, veterans and the environment; and actively promoting volunteer service among our employees and demonstrating as a team that we make a difference. For more information and to learn how to submit a request for a financial or product contribution, please see our Corporate Charitable Contributions Policy.
The Nielsen-Massey Foundation
In 2009, The Nielsen-Massey Foundation was founded with a mission to assist disadvantaged children and adults with education and leadership development, especially in the field of culinary arts. The Foundation also considers requests for assistance in the development of sustainable environmental practices or for programs benefiting people in countries of need. The board of directors consists of Craig, Beth and Matt Nielsen—third-generation owners of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas—and their mother, Camilla Nielsen. Ten percent of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas profits are donated to The Nielsen-Massey Foundation.
Organizations we support include:
As part of our commitment to ensure Nielsen-Massey meets the highest quality and standards for pure vanillas and flavors, we have sought out and earned the following certifications:
Nielsen-Massey's retail product line is Non-GMO Project verified. “Nielsen-Massey prides itself on the quality of its products, and we want to ensure that our customers know exactly what they are getting every time they purchase something from us.” said Craig Nielsen, Vice President of Sustainability at Nielsen-Massey. “Although our products have always been GMO-free, official certification is an important step toward a fully transparent manufacturing and sales process.”
Throughout our 110-year history as a family business, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Inc. and Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International B.V. have prided ourselves on the ethical manner by which we conduct business. This ethical commitment encompasses the way in which we treat our own employees and customers, as well as how we work with suppliers to ensure they adhere to appropriate practices with regard to their workers.
Nielsen-Massey remains committed to honesty, integrity and openness and respect for the rights and interests of its employees. It will similarly respect the legitimate interests of those with whom it has relationships. We are committed to maintaining working environments where there is mutual trust and respect and where everyone feels responsibility for the performance and reputation of the company. We will not use any form of child, forced or compulsory labor. Nielsen-Massey will recruit, employ and promote employees on the sole basis of the qualifications and abilities needed to perform the work duties. Discrimination is forbidden on the grounds of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.