Milk deliveries surge during lockdown after years of decline
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
The milk delivery industry has experienced a "turnaround" throughout the coronavirus pandemic after 25 years of decline, a Suffolk dairy farmer has said.
Adrian Foulger, who has managed Foulgers Dairy since 1999 and has worked in the industry for more than 40 years, said his business has experienced something of a revival over the last year as more people opt to have their groceries delivered at home.
He had previously said the firm - which delivers to Ipswich, Grundisburgh, Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Kesgrave and Saxmundham and other villages - had seen orders go "through the roof".
The upward trend of deliveries has remained consistent throughout the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Foulger said, as more than 1,000 new customers have signed up since the pandemic began.
Other firms have also benefitted from the shift to having groceries home-delivered - with Suffolk Dairies announcing last autumn it was looking to hire extra drivers to cope with demand.
Mr Foulger said the increase in orders of non-dairy items he delivers - such as fruit, vegetables, eggs and snacks - has also supported other small East Anglian businesses in a time of economic uncertainty.
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Foulgers Dairy did lose out on some money when the closure of schools was announced, but Mr Foulger said the last year has been a success for the industry as a whole.
He said: "With the service we provide, I thought we would be OK to carry on in lockdown. But you don't always know how these things pan out.
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"In the first lockdown, we were inundated with requests for new deliveries. Probably within the first month we took on another 1,200 customers.
"We lost income through school closures, so we lost some business there.
"But it has been a positive for us in these tough times. It has been very hard and stressful for the guys working. But to a man, they have worked so hard,
"I've been in the industry for 40 years, and there has been a steady decline over the last 25.
"But it has changed - it has been something of a turnaround. The milkman has always provided a great service.
"I hope it goes well for the doorstep industry and I hope it continues."