Creating a healthier world

Volac’s history reflects our desire to create a healthier world through dairy nutrition, innovation and collaborative partnerships.

Volac began in 1970, as a collaboration between the dairy industry entrepreneur Dick Lawes and a talented veterinary student, Philip Paxman.

Dick was instrumental in the development and manufacture of spray-dried fat-filled skim milk products needed to satisfy British consumers appetites for dairy, post-WWII. It was these products which established his reputation in the industry.

When Volac was created, animal nutrition was also becoming more sophisticated. Philip’s meticulous work on using specially formulated milk replacers to help rear young livestock, had shown remarkable results for growth rate and overall animal health.

For Dick Lawes, teaming up with Philip and investing in a business to develop premium-branded, animal feed products, represented a terrific commercial opportunity. It also cemented their partnership and the desire they shared — transforming the practices and efficiency of small, family-owned, dairy farms.

Volac’s ‘easy-mix’ high-quality milk replacers soon helped farmers become more successful, because they could deliver nutritional and productivity benefits for livestock, that were unmatched by existing farming methods and generic feed.

This early focus on calf-rearing is reflected in our name: Volac. It is a combination of the French for calf — ‘veau’ — and ‘-lac’ derived from ‘Millac’ one of Dick Lawes’ revolutionary consumer products, developed while he worked for L.E. Pritchitt & Co. Ltd.

The L.E. Pritchitt stand at Hotelympia 1948, showcasing ‘Millac’, Dick’s highly-successful homogenised, spray-dried fat-filled skim milk powder.
The L.E. Pritchitt stand at Hotelympia c.1975, showcasing ‘Millac’, Dick’s very successful homogenised, spray-dried fat-filled skim milk powder.

In the early 1980’s Volac established itself as an international company with another pioneering product: Megalac®. It was the first truly effective protected feed fat supplement, based on almost a decade of research. It gave a remarkable energy boost to the diets of dairy cows, improved their general health and increased their productivity.

Megalac® remains one of our most globally influential and successful animal nutrition products.

In tandem with Megalac® being launched, Volac promoted the technique of big bale silage — the wrapping of bales with weatherproof film — to upland dairy farmers. This approach allowed every farmer, with even the smallest herd, to make forage easily and use it to improve the output of their livestock.

In the late 1980’s Volac underwent a key manufacturing transition. We pioneered the use of advanced ultra-filtration technology to extract high-quality protein from liquid whey. This allowed us to move from using skim-milk powder as a core ingredient for animal feed formulas to using whey-based protein instead and gave our products a superior nutritional profile.

Ultra-filtration technology in action at the Felinfach factory in the 1990s.
Ultra-filtration technology in action at the Felinfach factory during the 1990s.

This change also provided us with new opportunities, because yet again, we added value to a raw material — this time a by-product of cheese manufacturing.

In the 1990’s we encouraged the use of inoculants — bespoke bacteria — for forage preservation. When an inoculant is applied to silage, nutrients are retained rather than lost and there is a reduction in unwanted micro-organisms. Improving the quality of a herd’s feedstuff in this way also helps to create healthier and more productive cows.

The long-standing success of our Ecosyl brand is testament to the proven benefits of using inoculants to preserve silage.

When whey protein became a key foodstuffs ingredient for the consumer health market, Volac saw new opportunities to play a leading role. We were able to utilise our ultra-filtration and spray-drying expertise to produce exceptionally high-quality whey-based derivatives. As a result, we quickly became a leading manufacturer of performance and dairy ingredients.

One of Volac’s latest innovations is Volactive® Pro2O™ — an undenatured, complete whey protein isolate. It has been specially formulated for use with clear protein drinks for sports nutrition and active consumer markets.

Our thirst for innovation is well-established. Our commitment to technical research also keeps us at the forefront of the science of dairy nutrition, so we can continue to deliver exceptional products with unique benefits for our partners, customers and end-users.

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