Those of us of a certain age will definitely remember the sounds and sights of the daily milk delivery.
The electric milk float whirring up the street, the clink of bottles as they are left in the little wire bottle holder placed by the door, the foil tops floating in the air when the milk froze and expanded and the birds pecking the foil top to get at the cream.
It’s quite a romantic view we have of the way it worked (back then). Everyone (mostly) had their milk delivered and a milkman’s patch was often three or four streets because everyone had their milk delivered.
Milk was still delivered widely until the 1970s and into the 80s in the UK but with widespread good home refridgeration and homogenisation (dispersal of cream through the milk which leads to a longer shelf life), deliveries started to go out of fashion.
The whole way we bought milk then changed with aggressive pricing from the supermarkets leading to a sharp drop in demand for the milk delivery service and many people might have thought that to be the end of the industry.
However with the resurgence of people’s interest in the provenance of their food, so there has been renewed interest in milk deliveries. We now want to know where our food comes from, we are keen to ensure that welfare standards of animals and people have been met, we want to ensure that our food is produced sustainably and our food miles are sensible. Farmers markets and food fairs have now meant that we can meet the people who produce our food, hear their story and buy into their products.
Things have moved on a bit since the 70s too.
The milk delivery service cannot compete with the supermarket on price (many of which often sell milk at a loss) but there are many other benefits to choosing to have your milk delivered. Most companies (but not all) work direct with a small selection of British farms and farmers, ensuring a fair price is paid and rural economies are supported. Milk comes to you from farm to doorstep within 48 hours and its provenance is easily traced.
Milk deliveries have come a long way and are now well and truly geared up for the 21st century. Reusable glass bottles are still a real favourite but fully recyclable plastic cartons are a very convenient way to receive milk. Organic milks and plant based dairy alternatives are very popular and like any good business, companies now offer additional products helping customers making the most of their deliveries. Lots offer a range of traditional store cupboard favourites but the best (like Morefresh) deliver top quality vegetable and fruit boxes, fruit juices and presses, freshly baked bread, yoghurts, farm fresh free range eggs, as well as staple items, such as cheese and butter.
And to make things even easier and more convenient, milk delivery companies can now offer online accounts with numerous payment options, email billing and account management too.
So if you care about where your milk is coming from and are keen to support British farmers and rural economies, the humble (or not so humble now) milk delivery service could well be for you.