A blast from the past: Why the milkman is making a comeback
- Now in its tenth year, Manhattan Milk operates eight trucks that deliver locally sourced milk, eggs, and fresh produce to customers’ doorsteps throughout New York City, according to The Washington Post.
- The company takes orders online, by phone and by text, and delivers products in special refrigerated boxes.
- It isn’t the only game in town: There are two other milk delivery services that compete with Manhattan Milk.
In 1963, 30% of consumers received home milk deliveries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By 1975, when grocery stores had become the go-to source for fresh products and consumables, that percentage had dwindled to just 7%.
The modern grocery store was the milkman’s undoing. But at a time when consumers are turning to organic and local products, buying stakes in community supported agriculture and demanding manufacturers remove artificial ingredients from their products, it’s clear past methods have a place in the modern food industry.
It’s no surprise, then, that milk delivery seems to be undergoing something of a renaissance. In addition to the services in New York City, small farms across the country are offering home delivery, and in many instances are thriving. South Mountain Creamery, located in Frederick County, MD, started delivering fresh milk out of a Ford Explorer in 2001. Today, it regularly delivers milk, meat and other dairy products to more than 8,500 homes in the area.
The appeal of these milk delivery services and nostalgia for the milkman of old may hold lessons for retailers, especially as they invest more money into e-commerce — which, when you think about it, is just an evolution of the same service the milkman offered. Indeed, for all the data and innovation that goes into the endeavor, it’s important not to lose focus on quality products and good customer service.
- The Washington Post The milkman is alive and well in New York City
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