Milkmen expand their business during UK lockdown

New AHDB analysis shows that UK consumers turned to doorstep delivery of milk during lockdown, bolstering milk delivery businesses.
calendar icon 30 September 2020
clock icon 2 minute read


According to Kantar, traditional milkmen skimmed an additional 190,000 housebound customers from February to June as retailers struggled to stock shelves with essential dairy items such as milk, butter and cheese, with many services forced to close to new customers as demand outstripped supply.

Though numbers have fallen back slightly as restrictions have lifted, many customers have retained the service, at 671,809 in mid-August compared to 526,876 in February, a 27.5 percent rise.

The pandemic has also brought a new demographic to doorstep delivery. Traditionally, the milkman customer is older and more-affluent. However, lockdown brought in younger couples and families, which account for 46 percent of milk bought by new customers compared to pre-lockdown, where only 21 percent of milk was bought by younger customers. There is an opportunity for the industry to attract and retain new customers in these demographics by emphasising its environmental credentials, such as non-plastic packaging and the use of electric floats for distribution.

AHDB consumer insight manager Susie Stannard said: “Higher prices compared to supermarkets has always been a limiting factor for mass uptake of doorstep delivery but the pandemic means all bets are off, with consumers willing to pay more for convenience and safety.

“As restrictions tighten once more and many areas face local lockdown, there is clear potential to develop the market further for milk and other essentials.”

Click here to read the full analysis from AHDB

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