The history of Mlekpol dates back to 1976, when the Dairy Plant in Grajewo was established. It was followed by the creation of Spółdzielnia Mleczarska (Dairy Cooperative) on 12 November 1980. The first Grajewo milk flowed on 4 July 1982, under the professional supervision of engineer Edmund Borawski appointed as the Chairman of the Management Board of Okręgowa Spółdzielnia Mleczarska (District Dairy Cooperative) in Grajewo.
In the 1980s, Mlekpol produced milk, cream, butter and various types of cottage cheese
for the local market. A breakthrough came in 1989, which introduced significant changes to Poland and to the dairy industry as well. The new economic situation, the principle of free competition and the flood of imported products were both an impulse and the beginning of the long-term expansion of Mlekpol.
The 1990s brought a dynamic technological, product and commercial development of SM Mlekpol. At that time, among others, Mlekpol modernised some of its technological facilities, i.e., powdered milk plant – enabling the production of skimmed milk, whole milk powder for babies, and the unit packaging line. The bottling lines for drinking milk in non-returnable packages were also improved. In 1993, UHT milk and cream production line was launched in the Dairy Production Plant in Grajewo.
The boost and the driving force behind the further expansion of Spółdzielnia was 1995, when Łaciate milk appeared on the Polish market. Consumers have loved milk from Grajewo not only for its remarkable advertising commercials, but primarily due to the fact that the milk makes a repetitive, highest quality product.
The year 1992 can be considered the beginning of the Mlekpol’s consolidation policy. The first association was formed with Gminna Spółdzielnia Mleczarska (Communal Dairy Cooperative) in Bargłów Kościelny (1992). Okręgowa Spółdzielnia Mleczarska Ełk (District Dairy Cooperative) was another affiliated entity (1995). In 1999 SM Mlekpol joined with Spółdzielnia Mleczarska “Kurpianka” in Kolno, and one year later with Spółdzielnia Mleczarska in Mrągowo (2000). The years 2002-2016 were designated with subsequent consolidations. Within 14 years, SM Mlekpol joined with the following dairy production plants: Sejny (2002), Augustowo (2003), Zambrów (2003), Bydgoszcz (2005), Sokółka and Dąbrowa Białostocka (2008), Radom, Gorzów Wielkopolski and Zwoleń (2008), and finally Suwałki (2016).
Thanks to its consolidation policy, the development of own milk purchase base, the modernisation of dairy farms as well as their machine parks, in the first decade of 2000 Mlekpol became an undisputed leader of the Polish dairy industry. During the most dynamic development, Mlekpol promoted sequential dairy brands: Milko, Maślanka Mrągowska, Rolmlecz, Białe, Zambrowskie. Łaciate remained the leading brand – an emblem, gradually widening its product portfolio.
Acting out of concern for an increasingly higher quality of products and adapting them to the growing expectations of consumers, in February 2010 Mlekpol created the Institute of Dairy Industry Innovation in Mragowo. Equipped with the latest research facilities, the Institute allows for performing works in accordance with the highest global standards and has the status of a Research and Development Centre. It is run by an eminent specialist in the dairy industry – prof. dr hab. Andrzej Babuchowski.
The key assumption of the Mlekpol’s Supervisory Board and Management Board strategy is a continuous and substantial growth. All the Mlekpol’s production plants are permanently modernised, not to mention the new ones that are constantly created. In order to ensure a stable purchase of milk produced by farmers as well as to develop the potential of farms in 2014, the Supervisory Board and the Management Board of Spółdzielnia Mleczarska Mlekpol in Grajewo decided to build in Mrągowo, within the Special Economic Zone, Zakład Produkcji Sproszkowanych Wyrobów Mleczarskich (the Production Plant of Powdered Dairy Products). The cornerstone for its construction was laid in December 2016. It will be the largest plant of this type in Poland with the planned capacity of 3 million litres of milk and whey per day. The total area of production buildings is 20,000 square meters. ZPSWM’ lines will include, among others, high purity whey proteins and baby food products. The investment cost of the new powder plant is estimated to be approximately PLN 400 million, whereas its employment accounts for 160 people. The planned launch of the investment is scheduled for 2018/19.
Spółdzielnia listens to its consumers. In response to their needs, it constantly improves its products. That is why in 2015-2017 it launched a lactose-free product line, eliminated glucose and fructose syrup from its products and implemented the production of GMO-free milk The Mlekpol’s product packaging is also becoming more and more convenient and modern. An example here is either the Milko fermented line of drinks in handy cartons based on current consumer “on the go” trend or a line of ripened cheese in slices, in open-close packages.
The domestic market is a priority for Mlekpol. Approx. 70% of its products is distributed
and sold in Poland. More than 30% is intended for export. MLEKPOL products are known and liked i.a. by Asian, South American, European and Far East countries. The dominating export market for SM Mlekpol is China, Pakistan, Vietnam and Indonesia. Its developing markets remain: Africa, Israel, the British Isles, Korea and Japan. The sales volume of Mlekpol products beyond the borders of Poland grows each year systematically. In 2017 it increased by over 30% compared to the previous year.
The plants of Spółdzielnia Mleczarska Mlekpol meet the highest standards, envisaged by norms developed for food producers, including: International Food Standard (IFS), the safety system in the food production process – ISO/ HACCP acc. Codex Alimentarius. In addition, the dairy plants in Grajewo, Mragowo and Zambrów, whose export products are also sold in Great Britain, have implemented the British Retail Consortium (BRC) standard, honoured in the United Kingdom and in Polish supermarkets owned by British retail chains. What is more, the plants in Grajewo and Mrągowo have received a highly restrictive Kosher certificate, which enables trade cooperation with Israel, as well as Halal certification facilitating the sale of products to Muslim contractors. The facilities in Zambrów and Kolno are Halal certified as well.