Milk & More, Britain’s biggest traditional doorstep milk delivery company, has come under fire after announcing plans to go online-only, leaving eldery and vulnerable customers at risk of being cut off from its service.
The company, which has more than 1,000 delivery staff in the UK and serves over half a million households in England, told customers that they must set up an online account for deliveries to continue after 24 April.
The change affects people who use its call centre or pay via a bank transfer.
Milk & More said the move was crucial to “securing the future of the British doorstep delivery service” which had been declining for around four decades until recently.
It added that the shift online would also protect the jobs of hundreds of colleagues and suppliers and save administration costs.
However the firm, which is owned by German dairy company Muller, faced backlash on social media over the move, particularly as its service has been vital for elderly and vulnerable shoppers during the pandemic.
“I see from a letter received today that you no longer want to serve elderly people who do not use the internet,” Michael Yarrow wrote on the Milk & More Facebook page. “Shame on you.”
Liberal Democrat peer Kate Parminter, whose parents use the service, said: “This is being done during a pandemic when elderly and vulnerable people are reliant on getting their milk and bread delivered.
“Deliveries will be cut off on 24 April, which is still within the period of lockdown. I was frankly disgusted that a company couldn’t grow a bit more social responsibility.”
Milk & More has so far signed up around 175,000 new online customers over the past two years amid the coronavirus lockdowns and concerns about plastic waste.
Some 80% of the company’s business is already online and its delivery hands out 90% of its pints in reusable glass bottles.
The company said that the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout programme and the easing of lockdown restrictions means now is the “right time” to make the transition.
It added that if a customer cannot obtain an online account, it will help them where possible to find an alternative supplier.
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