Skip to Main Content

Milk Specialties Global acquires Kay’s Processing, Inc.

Milk Specialties Global (MSG), an industry-leading manufacturer of nutritional ingredients for the health and wellness, performance nutrition and functional food industries, has acquired the 96,000-square-foot, gluten-free certified Kay’s Processing facility, located in Clara City, Minnesota, along with the Kay’s Naturals consumer brand.

Milk Specialties Global plans to expand operations at the Clara City facility to accommodate demand for extruded protein products, which are used for a wide variety of applications ranging from snacks to meat alternatives. To ensure business continuity, the facility’s current employees have received offers to remain with the facility, and additional jobs will be created in the future to support production expansions. “There is a lot of potential to ramp up production and increase capacity at our new Clara City facility, including more co-manufacturing,” says MSG Vice President of Extrusion Technology and Strategy Jim Fischer. “This acquisition will expand our extruded protein capabilities and help us better meet the needs of our customers.”

The Clara City plant is part of MSG’s long-term expansion strategy. The newly named Milk Specialties Global Clara City Facility is MSG’s 11th plant, and the latest in a series of strategic acquisitions and expansions that began in 2008. Most recently, in 2020 the company doubled its lactose production following expansion of its west coast processing facility in Visalia, CA. Earlier this year, MSG completed a capital improvement project at its Fond Du Lac, WI facility to begin production of lactoferrin, signaling the launch of its NutriPRO™ line of products focusing on the health benefits of whey protein. “MSG has one of the best protein supply chains in the world and great infrastructure for producing high-quality products,” says MSG CEO David Lenzmeier. “With each investment, we can offer more value for our customers.”

Media Note: For additional information or to schedule an interview, contact Media Relations, Inc. at 952-697-5221.

About Milk Specialties Global
Milk Specialties Global (MSG) is an industry-leading manufacturer of nutritional ingredients for the health and wellness, performance nutrition and functional food industries, with manufacturing facilities in WI, MN, NE, IL and CA. The core of MSG’s business is in high-percentage protein ingredients (whey protein concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates, as well as milk protein concentrates, isolates and micellar casein), lactose and permeate as well as value added ingredients. Additional information about Milk Specialties Global, including the benefits of its proprietary processing methods, can be found on www.milkspecialties.com.

Milk Specialties Global Begins Lactoferrin Production Following Major Infrastructure Project

Milk Specialties Global, a leading international whey and milk protein producer, is entering the lactoferrin market following a multi-million-dollar investment at the company’s Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin facility. The project, which will be completed in May, is in support of ongoing customer partnerships and to align with their future supply chain needs.

“The research around the health and immune benefits of lactoferrin is very compelling,” says David Lenzmeier, CEO of Milk Specialties Global. “We recognize that consumers are becoming more health conscious and we make it a priority to stay in tune with our customers. We are simply excited to play a key role in the development of the next generation of health-focused products.”

Lactoferrin is a unique protein fraction that occurs naturally in whey protein. Lactoferrin comprises only a tiny portion of the overall whey protein but offers powerful health benefits when concentrated. There is a growing body of research around the benefits of concentrated lactoferrin for all life stages including enhanced immune system support, promotion of “good” prebiotic bacteria for positive gut health and improved iron status. Recent studies have brought lactoferrin’s antiviral properties to the forefront, demonstrating that it can favorably influence human cell response to COVID-19 infection.

“Milk and its components are such an incredible canvas to create innovative products,” says Tom Benson, Executive Vice President at Milk Specialties Global. “As the world is becoming more health focused, we saw an opportunity to diversify our portfolio, deepen our commitment to customers and grow with them in the future.”

Lactoferrin is part of Milk Specialties’ NutriPRO™ family of products and comes in a wide range of concentration options – from 0.15 percent purity up to 95 percent purity. Lactoferrin is highly functional and can be used in a wide range of applications. Along with being a core ingredient in infant formula, lactoferrin is ideally suited for health supplements, medical nutrition products, ready-to-mix drinks and functional foods.

Stacey Pexa Lodden, Vice President of Human Resources, honored as Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 2020 Woman in Business

Stacey Pexa Lodden, Vice President of Human Resources, honored as Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal 2020 Woman in Business 

Hard work, dedication and persistence pays off. Stacey Pexa Lodden, Vice President of Human Resources, has led Milk Specialties Global through significant growth by increasing employee headcount, strengthening employee retention, and instilling a purpose, vision and values program company-wide. Stacey is instrumental in executing policies and procedures that are currently the core of Milk Specialties Global today.  

Joining Milk Specialties Global as Human Resources Manager in 2012, Stacey quickly rose to Director of Human Resources in 2013 and Vice President of Human Resources in 2016.  Under her leadership, MSG has experienced 70% growth, increasing headcount from 520 employees to 880 employees in 2020. 

Pexa Lodden’s planning and leadership resulted in the expansion of the company’s Eden Prairie, MN, Headquarters as well as significant growth in the company’s Wautoma, WI & Norfolk, NE manufacturing facilities.  Stacey successfully integrated a newly acquired facility in Monroe, WI in 2016 as well as led initiatives to acquire a new Research & Development lab for the company’s Animal Nutrition Business Unit in Edina, MN in 2017.  

Impacting all Milk Specialties Global employees, Ms. Pexa Lodden implemented a unified HRIS & Payroll/timekeeping system for the entire organization in 2015. From start to finish, Stacey led MSG’s company-wide purpose, vision, and values, as well as implemented talent management processes in 2017. 

Stacey has demonstrated a dedicated involvement to her field and industry by receiving her SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) Certification in 2010 and being an active member of SWMHRA (Southwest Metro Human Resources Association) since 2012. Outside of her professional life, Stacey enjoys time with her husband and two daughters, and has been a certified Feng Shui Practitioner since 2013.  

We extend our sincerest gratitude to Stacey for her hard work, dedication, and outstanding leadership at Milk Specialties Global. 

Milk Specialties Global’s Statement on Operational Status During COVID-19 Pandemic


***Given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, this statement will be updated as new developments occur and will be time and date stamped each time a change is made.
Last update: Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 3:30pm (CST)

These are extraordinary times. With the global spread of COVID-19 reaching pandemic levels, it is critical that we all do what we can to help reduce the spread and bring this virus under control.

At Milk Specialties Global, we take the obligation to do our part very seriously. The health and well-being of our employees, customers, consumers, business partners, and communities is of utmost importance to us. With this in mind, we are taking many precautionary measures in our business and operating practices.

As a leading North American producer of dairy protein ingredients and animal nutritional supplements, we already have strict safety policies and procedures in place. Our strong biosecurity programs that we follow for food safety also work as protection against this virus. We will continue to maintain these high standards. We are also leveraging our biosecurity and food safety knowledge to develop plans to enhance our business practices in non-operational environments.

Below outlines a number of steps we have taken once concerns about the spread of the virus started to escalate:

  • Restricting non-business critical visitors into our locations and implemented a visitor screening tool.
  • Communicated and implemented self-quarantine measures.
  • Supporting employees to work from home whenever possible and where that is not possible, we are taking additional precautions, including implementing practices that maximize social distance when we can.
  • We are leveraging technology to facilitate meetings and other interactions as much as possible.
  • We are prohibiting air business travel.
  • If team members or members of the household are traveling personally, they are asked to report the travel to Human Resources so that our quarantine policies can be properly applied.
  • Diagnostic lab testing of COVID-19 is covered at 100% under company medical plans.
  • Of course, anyone experiencing any symptoms is required to stay home. Benefits have been put in place to assist employees with COVID-19 related absences.

We will continue to monitor developments and will further adapt our policies and practices as new information becomes available. To keep our employees informed, we have created an email box for employee questions related to COVID-19 and continue to provide updated information as we have it.

We are also sharing information with our stakeholders as we work together to do the right thing.

At the present time, all plants are operating, and our company is only minimally impacted. We continue to ship and export normally and we have not experienced any significant issues with our ability to procure necessary supplies. We will continue to work very closely with our supply chain partners and given that the situation is extremely fluid, we will continue to engage in thorough contingency planning.

We recognize that our protein ingredients and animal nutritional supplements are essential in nourishing both people and animals, and a critical piece of our customers’ supply chain. We are committed to continuing to execute our business with excellence, maintaining operational stability and the health of our people and being vigilant in the steps we are taking to mitigate the risk of the spread of the virus in the communities where we operate.

Milk Specialties Debuts PROriz™ Brown Rice Protein and Showcases Protein Ingredient Innovations at Natural Products Expo West 2020

For 75 years, Milk Specialties Global has been delivering nutritional solutions to the world. At Natural Products Expo West 2020, we will be showcasing diverse proteins in an expanded variety of ready-to-drink (RTD), ready-to-mix (RTM), and baking premixes.

Join us March 5-7, 2020 at NPEW booth #4778 to experience quality protein ingredients and innovation, supporting performance nutrition and functional health.

Introducing PROriz™ wholesome brown rice protein.

Recognizing the consumer demand for plant-based proteins, Milk Specialties will debut PROriz™ brown rice protein at Expo West 2020.

Sourced and produced in the U.S.A. using hexane-free processing, PROriz™ provides all nine essential amino acids in a low grit, neutral tasting, free-flowing powder.  Available in both organic and conventional formats, PROriz™ provides 80% pure protein, a superior taste profile vs. leading competitors, and flawless performance across a variety of applications.

“Milk Specialties continuously looks for ways to bring protein innovation and leadership to help our customers succeed in a competitive market.  The demand for vegan protein is explosive, and brown rice protein brings an unparalleled solution for our customers to meet the nutritional and sensory demands of the performance nutrition consumer.  PROriz™ is both sourced and produced the U.S.A., which is a clear differentiator to other brown rice proteins in the market” says Michael Hiron, Vice President of Sales.

Experience PROriz™ brown rice protein by visiting Milk Specialties booth #4778 to sample espresso chai and apple cinnamon ready-to-mix protein shakes, boasting 15g of vegan protein in an 8 oz serving.

Discover the convenience and versatility of ready-to-drink protein beverages

Consumers increasingly recognize the health benefits of dairy proteins and seek ways to incorporate protein into their everyday consumption habits.  Ready-to-drink functional beverage sales continue to lead the growth of the sports nutrition category, with consumers responding to the increased variety of flavor, form and nutritional offerings.

PRObev™ clear whey protein isolate provides an exceptionally clean taste with low astringency that compliments fruity flavors and a variety of protein concentrations that perform well in both still and sparkling RTD formats.

Produced utilizing proprietary technology, PRObev™ is a heat-stable whey protein isolate that is clear in solution over a wide pH range. The versatility of PRObev™ helps our customers achieve on-trend, differentiated offerings while delivering the unrivaled amino acid profile of whey protein, high digestibility and superior sensory experience that today’s consumers demand.

A recent 3rd party blind taste test conducted with a trained sensory panel highlighted PRObev™ to be significantly less astringent than its top global competitor. Sample our all-natural ginger-pear flavored RTD protein beverage containing 10 grams of crystal-clear whey protein isolate.

Additionally, for consumers looking for an on-the-go caffeine boost, the convenience of ready-to-drink iced coffees continues to drive conventional RTD new product introductions.  Milk Specialties looks forward to showcasing an RTD Iced Latte beverage featuring 30 grams of organic milk protein concentrate in an 11 oz serving.

Sports Nutrition Innovation: Clear ready-to-mix high protein shakes

As showcased by recent sports nutrition industry innovation awards, PRObev™ has helped open a new category of ready-to-mix protein shakes that are clear rather than milky after mixing. The clear alternative provides a lighter option for the consumer, creating refreshing, fruit-focused flavors in RTM protein shakes that appeal to new as well as existing protein powder consumers.

Try a clear tropical punch RTM shake, delivering 20 grams of clear protein per serving.

Protein-fortified baking solutions

Protein-fortified baking premixes and cookies have disrupted otherwise stagnant categories, driving sales through health benefits and differentiated offerings. The baking premixes are formulated with dairy proteins to enhance the nutritional profile while delivering on taste, mouthfeel and shelf-life requirements.  High protein baking premixes can be produced at the Milk Specialties manufacturing facility, meeting formulation specifications, and nutritional requirements.

Enjoy 10 grams of protein per 2 oz gluten-free Snickerdoodle flavored cookie, made with no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives.

Milk Specialties Global Launches VitalCholDX™

Leaders of science-based dairy nutrition debuts rumen-protected choline

Milk Specialties Global, the global leader in animal nutritional supplements and dairy protein ingredients, debuts VitalChol DX™, a new rumen-inert choline supplement designed to optimize cow health during the transition phase. VitalChol DX™ brings a new level of digestibility and stability to the supplement market by encapsulating the choline core with Duracoat Technology™. This proprietary coating is designed to provide the greatest level of durability in feed and mineral mixes and TMR while also delivering a source of energy in the form of mostly saturated fatty acids.

Available nationally, VitalChol DX™ is focused on supporting dairy producers as they take control of their transition cow program to maximize cow health and performance.  Every transition cow is deficient in choline, as it is degraded by the rumen and cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities to meet her bodily requirements.  When fed through the transition phase, choline has been shown to reduce incidence of metabolic disorders, increase milk and milk component yield, and increase colostrum quality.

“With all Milk Specialties animal nutrition supplements, we purposefully innovate in collaboration with leading animal nutrition researchers to bring the most effective products that maximize the health and production of animals,” said Milk Specialties VP of Specialty Sales, Paul Krueger. ” Choline supports transport of fat out of the liver during the transition period, as a properly functioning liver creates a more successful start to lactation, and reduces the incidences of several metabolic diseases that impact the transitioning dairy cow.  Adding VitalChol DX™ to our line of bypass amino acids and nutrients helps Milk Specialties’ customers maximize their milk checks.”

VitalChol DX™ can be ordered through nutritionists and Milk Specialties Team Members.  Visit https://live-milk-specialties.pantheonsite.io/animal-nutrition/products/vitalchol/ to learn more.

VitalCholDX™ Logo