I've been taking a series of photos to show how this town is changing and an article on today's news prompted me to choose this picture as my first post on the subject. It's the front of the old Dairy Crest depot in the centre of town and symbolises the decline of home delivered milk over the past couple of decades. Now just 10% of milk is delivered to homes via 7,000 delivery rounds - 20 years ago it was 40% via 20,000.
I feel sad about this state of affairs, but I'm just as much to blame as anyone else. After all, I buy my milk from the supermarket in plastic bottles, lured by its very cheap price - often 15p a pint less than what the milkman offers. There's much talk of supermarkets using milk as a 'loss leader' to lure us into their stores and forcing the prices they pay to farmers down in spite of increasing production costs. I don't know enough about that to say whether it's true, but I'd now like to change to the more eco-friendly home delivery option please. Sadly, I believe this is no longer available in our area, and I expect I'll be taking another picture soon when this site starts to get redeveloped.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though, the BBC reports that the remaining milk rounds in the UK are branching out to give customers a wider range of daily home delivered goods. This is proving to be a lifeline to my elderly mum in Birmingham, where she's at least assured of the basics when she can't get to the shops.