The company was founded by William Neilson (1844–1915) in 1893 as one of many independent dairy producers in Canada. Originally a milk retailer, Neilson switched to cream and ice cream products. His Neilson Dairy became William Neilson Limited in 1907. After the mid-20th century, many smaller companies were overtaken by larger corporations. William Neilson was sold to George Weston Limited in 1947. Neilson Dairy is now part of the Saputo empire after George Weston Limited sold the dairy unit in 2008.
A list of brands and products sold by Neilson Dairy past and present:
- Neilson dairy products including, milk, butter, ice cream and instant puddings.
- Häagen-Dazs ice cream licence – acquired in 1981, sold to Ault Foods in 1990.
- Cadbury Confectionery Company Canadian operations – acquired in 1987, sold all confectionery and chocolate products back to British Cadbury in 1996. Currently licenses Caramilk and Crispy Crunch-flavoured chocolate milk.
- Chocolate bars and confectionery – Jersey Milk, Mr. Big, Malted Milk, Sweet Marie and Crispy Crunch (for which the recipe was changed), Pep, Will-O-Pak sold back to British Cadbury in 1996. Jersey Milk and Will-O-Paks continue to have the Neilson brand name on them; however, they are now manufactured by Cadbury Canada.
- Bite-size chocolates - Neilson sells several varieties of chocolate snacks, including Golden Buds, small milk chocolates similar to Hershey's Kisses; Slowpokes, similar to Turtles; and Willocrisp, flaky peanut wafers dipped in chocolate, similar to Crispy Crunch.
Neilson dairy operations past and present:
- Beachville, Ontario – former cheese operations (closed)
- Georgetown, Ontario
- Guelph, Ontario – formerly Royal Dairy (closed)
- Ottawa, Ontario – formerly Clark Dairy
- Toronto, Ontario – formerly Donlands Dairy and Neilson-Cadbury chocolate factory – sold
- Montreal, Quebec
Neilson brand products are replacing Saputo's Dairyland brand in Ontario
Formerly, as part of the Weston empire, Neilson Dairy products are sold at Weston-related stores:
Other retailers selling Neilson products:
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (April 2007)|