Monthly Archives: September 2023

How Cultures & Enzymes Move the Dairy Industry Forward

by Steve Funk | Senior Cheese Technologist at Nelson-Jameson

Cultures and enzymes are biological catalysts for dairy product production, but they’re also catalysts for the dairy industry as a whole. These hard-working elements work quietly behind the scenes to strengthen the industry’s brand reputation, increase dairy product market share, and delight consumers. 

As the industry continues to adapt to changes and face new and long-standing challenges, cultures and enzymes help dairy advocates respond with answers. The trend toward plant-based alternatives is answered with vegetarian enzymes. Interest in health and wellness is answered with cultures that stimulate the probiotic benefits of yogurts, kefirs, and other cultured dairy. Here are five ways that cultures and enzymes are helping dairy processors.  

Consumer Trends: Year after year, dairy processors aim to strike a balance between tradition and innovation. Consumers count on the availability of their favorite dairy products, but they also want new flavors and formats. Cultures and enzymes keep consumers happy by providing consistently produced dairy staples as well as inventive products that introduce new tastes and textures. They can also impact how well a cheese melts, browns, or blends, providing additional variety to culinary usages. 

Food Safety: The use of cultures and enzymes is increasing because of its success in maintaining the integrity of dairy products and enhancing food safety. New bioprotective cultures can replace chemical preservatives, providing consumers and suppliers with preservative-free products that also have better shelf stability.  Of course, cultures and enzymes are not a substitute for other safety protocols, such as knowing your milk source, understanding plant sanitation, and carefully following all steps in a cleaning process. Still, ongoing advances in cultures and enzymes allow dairy processors to inhibit yeast and mold growth, prevent spoilage, and better protect their products. 

Health and Wellness: Ongoing demand for the gut-health benefits of probiotics continues to keep yogurt at the top of cultured dairy sales. Cultures and enzymes also support other health-driven consumer preferences such as reducing lactose or increasing organic consumption. Beyond product features, the health and wellness benefits of cultured dairy enhance awareness of and interest in dairy as a category and its place in the famous food pyramid.

Food innovation: Industry scientists continue to find new pathways for cultures and enzymes. Product developers can use a 50-year-old, patented culture and/or a novel culture developed within the last year to expand a product line – the old and new work in tandem with each other.  Technical experts are creating new avenues for culture and enzyme usage, such as the use of non-traditional cultures to transform the effects in long-standing cheeses. Dairy processing operations benefit from culture and enzyme innovations as well. They can be added to help accelerate production or make it easier to utilize equipment. 

Brand Strength: As dairy processors utilize cultures and enzymes to enhance product uniqueness, satisfy consumers, and find creative solutions to challenges, a bonus result is industry brand strength. Consumers stay engaged with a food & beverage category when it’s both consistent and innovative, and fosters trust in food safety and health benefits.  In turn, this brand strength bolsters marketing and selling opportunities. 

Cultures and enzymes continue to be the workhorses of cultured dairy products, but they’re also indirect lobbyists for the industry. Dairy processors can benefit from continued focus on the role of cultures and enzymes in all aspects of production. 

If you need more insight on enzymes for your dairy product production, contact the experts at Nelson-Jameson (

About Steve Funk

Steve Funk is Senior Cheese Technologist at Nelson-Jameson. As a passionate dairy industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience, he provides customers with advice on ingredients, production processes, and manufacturing improvements to enhance cheese and fermented dairy product results. His innovative approach to quality cheese-making has helped dozens of customers create and launch unique cheese recipes that are market favorites today. Steve is an active member of numerous dairy industry associations and serves as a WDPA representative on the prestigious Master Cheesemakers Board. He supports the next generation of dairy innovators by serving as a NE-DBIC Dairy Processor Expansion Grant reviewer and a mentor for its Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition, an inaugural program managed by Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement and the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center. He holds a B.S. in Dairy Science and Animal Health from the University of Vermont. When not at work, he enjoys skiing, kayaking, gardening, and spending time with his wife of 38 years, Carla, and their daughter and grandson.

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Nelson-Jameson Earns Wisconsin Motor Carrier Association’s Fleet Safety Award

Top dairy distributor honored for its safe trucking operations


Marshfield, WI – September, 21 2023 | Nelson-Jameson, a leading distributor in the food and dairy industries with high standards in safety and compliance, has won a Fleet Safety Award from the Wisconsin Motor Carrier Association (WMCA) for the second consecutive year. The award honors the safest truckload fleets in Wisconsin.

Nelson-Jameson qualified for a Fleet Safety Award for Division 1 with a total of 486,256 accident-free miles in Wisconsin. The company maintains extensive safety training, job shadowing, and regular safety check-ins with employees to stress the importance of safety in the workplace.

“Nelson-Jameson places a high emphasis on safety through efficient systems and expert logistics to get our customers what they need when they need it,” said Mike Rindy, Nelson-Jameson president. “We are extremely proud to receive this safety award, which acknowledges our employees’ commitment to strive for an accident-free workplace.”

WMCA is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of Wisconsin’s truck and transportation owners. With over 1,300 members, including Nelson-Jameson, the WMCA is affiliated with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in Washington, D.C.

The award was given out at WMCA’s Safety Luncheon on September 19 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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Two Nelson-Jameson Executives Receive Women in Supply Chain Awards

Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive honor Dakonya Freis and Devon Vogel

MARSHFIELD, WI – Sept 19, 2023 | Nelson-Jameson, a leading distributor in the food processing industry, announced that two of its female executives – Dakonya Freis, Vice President of Commercial Development, and Devon Vogel, Vice President of Customer Solutions – were honored with Women in Supply Chain Awards. Food Logistics, the only publication exclusively dedicated to covering the movement of product through the global cold food supply chain, and Supply & Demand Chain Executive, the only publication covering the entire global supply chain, named both Freis and Vogel as winners of its annual award. The honor pays tribute to female supply chain leaders and executives whose accomplishments, mentorship and examples set a foundation for women in all levels of a company’s supply chain network.  

“We couldn’t be more proud of Dakonya and Devon for receiving this well-deserved recognition, and from such respected publications in our industry,” says Mike Rindy, President of Nelson-Jameson. “Dakonya and Devon embody the cultural values of Nelson-Jameson and lead with our guiding principles of kindness and mutual respect. These exceptional women continue to have measurable, positive impact on supply chain operations.”

According to Gartner’s eighth annual Women in Supply Chain Survey, women have made a strong comeback to the supply chain workforce in 2023, with gains at nearly every level of leadership. The survey also reports that women now make up 41% of the supply chain workforce, up from 39% in 2022.  However, frontline representation continues to lag, with women filling just 31% of these roles. 

“This year, we received over 400 submissions, the highest amount of applications not only for this award, but also for all of our awards. What’s more, 118 of those applications were submitted by male counterparts, nominating their boss, co-worker or associate. Last year, that figure was just at 75. Also this year, 39 women self-nominated, a tremendous uptick from last year’s award, which just saw 12 self-nominations. This shows progress. This shows hope that one day, we won’t need an award like this because men and women in the supply chain will be equal,” says Marina Mayer, Editor-in-Chief of Food Logistics and Supply & Demand Chain Executive. “While there’s still more work to be done, what we’re doing is working. From truck drivers to CEOs, what these winners are doing matters to the future of all supply chains.”

“Women have been making a significant impact in supply chain management, contributing to the growth and innovation of the supply chain industry. As more women join the supply chain workforce, they bring diverse perspectives that can help address complex supply chain problems and improve global supply chain operations. It is important that we empower, recognize and elevate these achievements through initiatives like the Women in Supply Chain Award, as seen through the overwhelming response. Congratulations to all the winners, those who nominated others and the bravery of those who nominated themselves,” adds Sarah Barnes-Humphrey, founder of Let’s Talk Supply Chain podcast and Blended Pledge project, both exclusive sponsors of the Women in Supply Chain award.

Go to to view the full list of winners. Recipients will be honored at this year’s Women in Supply Chain Forum, set to take place Nov. 14-15, 2023 in Atlanta.

Go to to register and learn more.

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Nelson-Jameson Moves Sustainability Goals Forward with New ESG Targets

The food processing industry distributor shares EcoVadis sustainability assessment results


MARSHFIELD, WI – Sept 14, 2023 | Nelson-Jameson, a leading distributor in the food processing industry, announces additional investment in its corporate sustainability practices. The organization has set targets for its Environmental, Sustainability, and Governance (ESG) framework, and measures progress on a comprehensive, cross-category internal scorecard. Additionally, the company has completed the third-party EcoVadis sustainability assessment for the past two years and announced a 34% increase in its total year-over-year sustainability score.

ESG targets Mat Bartkowiak sustainability

For decades, Nelson-Jameson has operated as a golden-rule company, defined as a focus on maintaining a culture of honesty, integrity, and kindness, and a commitment to operating in an ethical manner with respect for people, the community, and the environment. Its further investment in ESG goals is an extension of its long-standing cultural ethos.

“Nelson-Jameson has a long history of industry leadership in stewardship and community best practices,” says Matthew Bartkowiak, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Development at Nelson-Jameson. “ESG goals are embedded in every aspect of our operations, and we’re proud to see our progress in year-over-year results from the EcoVadis Business Sustainability Index.”

EcoVadis, known as the world’s largest and most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings globally, has established a network of more than 100,000 rated companies of all sizes. Companies proactively choose to participate in its Business Sustainability Index, and receive a total score as measured against all rated organizations, and individual sub-scores that measure ratings as compared to peers and competitors. Nelson-Jameson received a total score of 47 this year, which is on par with the global average rating of all measured companies at 50.3. In sub-categories, Nelson-Jameson ranked higher than average in both Ethics and Labor and Human Rights (a score of 60 for each).

Internally, Nelson-Jameson has outlined measurable, tangible goals in categories such as greenhouse gas reduction, sustainable supplier sourcing, and community investment. The company plans to participate in the EcoVadis Business Sustainability Index assessment on an annual basis.

Nelson-Jameson plans to release its ESG annual report in January. By sharing the company’s progress annually, NJ highlights its commitment to furthering its ESG goals which encompass everything from food safety and quality to sustainable supplier practices.

More information on the company can be found at