How Suffolk fell back in love with the milkman

Suffolk Dairies has seen a huge boost to business during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: JAMES B

Suffolk Dairies has seen a huge boost to business during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: JAMES BASS - Credit: Eastern Daily Press �2004

A Suffolk dairy is recruiting extra drivers to help them cope with the surge in demand for milk deliveries in the wake of lockdown.

Suffolk Dairies has seen a huge boost to business during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Getty Im

Suffolk Dairies has seen a huge boost to business during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/DragonImages - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Suffolk Dairies saw business boom at the start of the pandemic, receiving 1,100 emails in a single week as residents sought out home deliveries in a bid to reduce the number of trips needed to the supermarket.

Jenny Pryke, who bought the business with her husband Phil six years ago, said it was the busiest they had ever been - and there has been no let up since.

Now they are recruiting additional drivers to help them fulfil their growing number of orders.

Mrs Pryke said: “It went absolutely loopy at the start of lockdown and that’s why we need more workers.

“We were due to fly out (on holiday) the day before lockdown and my son was going to run the business while we were away.

“Then at about 8pm on the Wednesday he called and said ‘mum you better come in’ and from there I’ve not breathed.

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“We had 1,100 emails in that week, which is ridiculous in comparison to the 10 a day I usually get.”

The couple expected business to settle down as the threat reduced and lockdown was gradually eased.

“We thought that we’d be the same as the Covid graph - that we would peak and then fall off a cliff the other side but it didn’t.

“It peaked and then levelled out, and it has started to drift back again in the past week.”

The boost to the business has been most welcome, as the traditional industry had been in decline for many years prior to this.

Mrs Pryke said they did see a boost when the BBC Blue Planet documentaries were released, as people looked to reduce plastic waste, but it didn’t go far enough.

“Milk is a dying business. When we bought the business we had seven full rounds, but it has been declining and sadly a lot of our customers are elderly and have died.

“After the Blue Planet push for glass bottles it started to pick up a bit, now it’s all going pretty well,” she said.

“We took on five new customers yesterday and two today, we are already seeing the impact of this new mini-lockdown.”

The business currently sells a pint of milk at 80p and Mrs Pyke said she understands why people with large families might opt for supermarket milk - which can cost as little as £1.15 for four pints - but she said it is “not as good and not as tasty” as the dairy milk.