Industry sector: Retail and wholesale

Milk round: What to sell

What will you sell

Most of your income will probably come from sales of milk, but this may include:

  • whole milk
  • semi-skimmed milk
  • skimmed milk
  • Channel Islands milk
  • UHT and sterilised milk
  • organic milk
  • flavoured milk
  • filtered milk
  • milkshakes and smoothies
  • soya and goat's milk and other non-dairy alternatives

Semi-skimmed milk is now more popular than any other type.

As well as milk you will also sell dairy products such as:

  • cream
  • yoghurt and probiotic drinks
  • butter and spreads like Flora
  • cheese

Many roundsmen carry organic milk and dairy ranges. Some rounds have introduced organic fruit and veg box delivery.

Because milk consumption is falling and more and more people are buying milk from the supermarket, milkmen need to be able to offer a range of other products in order to boost their income. These vary, but might include products such as eggs, soft drinks, fruit juice, smoothies, vegetables, bread, food and refuse bags, foil and film, pet food and garden products. It can be worthwhile offering a range of special goods at Christmas time such as food hampers and chocolates. As part of your market research you could ask people what goods they would like you to deliver.

If you plan to sell lots of items other than milk and dairy products you will need to consider:

  • where will you store the products
  • will you have enough room on the milk float - particularly if you offer many chilled items that need to be kept cool
  • how will customers let you know what they want
  • where will you buy the products from
  • will wastage be a problem
  • will theft be a problem

How much income will come from non-milk sales

Many milkmen are trying to persuade their customers to have many more items other than milk delivered each day - so that they can continue to run a viable business. It is likely that income from non-milk sales will be around 10% to 15% of your total income, but you could aim to increase this over time as you build up a long term relationship with your customers.

Industry research shows that, on average, each customer buys about eight pints of milk per week from the milkman. If you have 300 customers and charge 81p per pint, your income from milk sales will be just over £1,900 each week. On top of this you might sell around £300 worth of other goods (figures used for illustrative purposes only).

Seasonal peaks and troughs

You are likely to find that your income varies at certain times of the year because:

  • domestic customers go away on holiday, particularly in the summer, cancelling the milk order
  • your trade customers include caravan and camp sites, which buy lots of milk during the summer months, or schools which close three times a year plus half-terms
  • you sell seasonal goods at Christmas time as well as extra milk, cream, eggs and so on