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Does the Milkman Still Exist?

Absolutely! The iconic British milkman and his trusty float has steadfastly delivered through thick and thin for decades, but stormed back to our streets with extra gusto in the past few years. Find out exactly why these pillars of the communities are in more demand than ever before.

History of the milkman

We’re used to our milkmen delivering all our modern breakfast favourites from avocadoes to artisan loaves on their electric floats, but their story started over a hundred years ago. While we’re always looking forward, there were a few things we did better in the old days, one of them being the iconic glass milk bottles – one of our proudest legacies to date.

Where it all began

The milkman’s journey started with a horse and cart, and a whole load of locally-produced fresh milk bottled up in glass. Clinking and clopping around the local communities, the milkmen would provide the dairy in exchange for cash left on the doorstep in a returnable bottle that they’d clean to be reused time and time again.

When World War Two blasted Britain, the milkmen emerged as icons of dependability. The familiar clink of bottles on the daily round helped bring a thread of normality during extraordinary times.

Along with being invited in for tea, milkmen looked after pets when families were away and helped keep their communities safe by deterring night crime. Amongst all the chaos and danger, the locals knew they could count on them to deliver. The milkmen simply did what they had to – they kept calm and carried on.

The rise and fall

When the war ended and cities were rebuilt, demand grew more than ever before. Milk floats took the streets by storm to deliver thousands of pints all across the country, the milkmen taking everything in their stride.

A few decades later, they sadly fell out of fashion with the rise of direct deliveries by supermarkets. According to the Guardian, the milkmen went from handling almost all milk sales in 1970 to less than 5% in 2020.

He may have taken a hit in the popularity stakes, but 'Ernie' never really went away, keeping alive a bit of magic the supermarkets could never match – the nostalgia of those old glass bottles, but now with so much more to offer…

Back for good

During the lockdowns of the Coronavirus pandemic, we all saw how the milkmen stepped up and adapted where others couldn’t, but the truth is their star had been back on the rise for quite some time.

Over the last decade, the world paid more attention to climate change than ever before, with David Attenborough’s famous Blue Planet serving a heavy reminder that far too much plastic packaging ends up in our oceans.

More people discovered that what was once a simple milk delivery has been modernised for the better without ever turning its back on the sustainable ways of the good old days. Horse and carts have been replaced with electric milk floats, our range has grown to offer eco-friendly organic produce, household essentials and even gardening supplies, and your chilled goods are safer than ever in our innovative cool boxes.