Dairy producers are reaching new customers by developing from milking machine to vending machine.
Self-serve milk vending machines are growing in popularity, and with Cywain’ s help a number of Welsh dairy farms are taking up the technology – and providing a modern twist on traditional farmgate sales.
Dewi Evans, Cywain Project Manager, said “Milk vending machines are another way producers can sell direct to the public, adding value to their milk by establishing a premium product brand.
“Cywain is working with a number of Welsh producers to create their brands and launch their vending businesses. Also, such has been the uptake of vending technology that in the near future, Cywain will be adding the location of producers with vending machines to the Cywain Producers Map https://menterabusnes.cymru/cywain/en/our-producers/ .
“Since its launch in April the Producers Map has been successful in directing shoppers to a host of excellent food and drink producers from across Wales who can provide an online shop and delivery service.”
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I am very pleased that Welsh dairies now have another method of selling directly to their customers.
“We know that the dairy sector has been among those hardest hit by the recent pandemic – and while we are keen to support our dairy farmers wherever possible, it’s very encouraging to see that businesses providing milk to consumers will have another method of doing so through these new vending machines.
“This is of particular good news as it will also help Welsh milk producers to market their own, premium brands.”
The following case studies feature Welsh milk vending enterprises that have been launched recently – from a few weeks to a matter of days ago.
DAISY BANK DAIRY
The Lloyd family launched Daisy Bank Dairy just as the world was changing – but with advice from Cywain the venture is growing.
Run by in partnership by father and son Mike and Glenn, milk production at the family’s farm in Montgomery goes back three generations, and the enterprise has been organic since 2017.
It was following the birth of Glenn and partner Sandie’s son Reggie in 2018 that the idea for a milk vending operation was hatched – and Daisy Bank Dairy was born.
Gently pasteurised, Daisy Bank’s organic milk is non-homogenised – where the fat particles rise to form a creamy top layer as opposed to being dispersed throughout the milk.
Says Glenn, “We had a few ‘Dragon’s Den’ style meetings with retailers, and we’ve chosen to work with family-run businesses like ourselves. There are benefits for us, and for them working with local farms.”
Currently, Daisy Bank’s vending machines are at two locations – Tuffins convenience store in Welshpool and Costcutter in Caersws.
Each site has two machines – a milk vending machine and a glass bottle dispenser. There are strict social distancing and cleaning protocols, including the provision of gloves and wipes for customers.
“We were due to launch on what became the second weekend of lockdown with the original plan to install the vending machines inside the stores. But social distancing requirements meant we instead positioned the machines outside and away from the doors.”
The public’s response, Glenn says has been very encouraging with people prepared to pay more for what is a premium product. Sales per vending machine are averaging 50 to 80 litres of milk a day, with 100 litres the goal or ‘golden number’.
He says, “The feedback we’ve had has been very good - most people have only ever tasted homogenised milk, so they notice the difference.
“A lot has been down to the marketing help and support we’ve had from Cywain. The one-to-one start-up, branding and marketing advice has been invaluable.”
More information: Facebook @DaisyBankDairy
FFOREST FARM WHOLE MILK
Customers began visiting Sally Windsor’s milk vending machine at Fforest Farm in Whitland last month – and numbers are steadily rising.
Says Sally, “We started selling a couple of weeks ago, and it has been really, really good. We’ve had lots of return customers – more than I thought to be honest, but our milk is spreading by word of mouth.”
The family farm is run in partnership by Sally’s parents and grandparents, but the Fforest Farm Whole Milk vending enterprise is her venture.
The vending machine - which dispenses the pasteurised non-homogenised whole milk - is located halfway down the farm’s lane. And there are strict COVID-19 compliant cleaning and distancing protocols.
She is keen to help bring consumers and farmers closer together and encourage people to buy local produce.
Sally says she’d eventually like to welcome visitors on farm to see how the milk is produced. “As we develop the business, we’re hoping to share our story with the customers.”
“We’ve had a lot of help from Cywain – courses and one-to-one finance sessions, and we’ve especially had help with our branding.”
More information: Facebook @FforestFarmMilk
Pembrokeshire farmer Randal Williams and family are opening a new chapter in their family farm’s history by installing a milk vending machine and selling directly to the public.
Just a few days ago they began selling Morfa Milk from the family farm at Parcymorfa in Fishguard.
Social distancing and strict cleaning protocols are applied, and advice is offered to customers on bottle cleaning after use.
Says Randal, “Our first weekend was great, and we’ve had amazing support from people and really positive comments.”
The non-homogenised milk from the farm’s grass-fed herd has been gently pasteurised and sold in branded Morfa Milk bottles – with help from Cywain.
Says Randal, “Cywain have been brilliant, we’ve had a whole load of business advice – finance, accounting social media, and marketing – from start to finish. We’ve also had branding design support to help our marketing.”
More information: Facebook @MorfaMilk