Milkmen still got milk as they retain sales volume gains

Friday, 15 October 2021

Successive lockdowns during 2020/21 brought about a resurgence in people using milkmen to get their milk delivered. According to Kantar, the number of customers rose to a peak of 670,000 in July 2020 from a low point of 503,000 pre-pandemic. As things began to return to more normality, numbers plateaued and began to fall slightly, but in the last 12 weeks customer numbers are still 21% above 2019.

Chart - Cow's Milk delivery customers - (000's)

Moreover, the consumers that remain are buying 2.3% more milk per household meaning that volumes of milk sold via the milkman are steady versus the same period in 2020. 

Important to get the offer right for the family audience to bring in the next generation

Whilst the key audience for milk delivery remains older, more affluent consumers, families were the key driver of growth in 2020. This year, the family audience have stayed with their milkmen, particularly those with older children seeing the most growth. The group that have returned to previous behaviours are the pre-family audience. 

Opportunities and challenges for the future

Delivery milk is valued because consumers feel they are supporting local farms and businesses and are behaving more sustainably by taking out plastics from their households. However, it does retail for a significant premium compared to supermarket milk. It is vital that suppliers can justify the price premium by highlighting the key points of difference that milk from the milkman brings. This will be particularly important as price sensitivities emerge as the furlough scheme ends. Telling a provenance story both in terms of local and around welfare and the environment can help here as well as alluding to freshness and taste. 

There are also opportunities to market other related products that particularly appeal to a family audience to boost convenience credentials.