As the milk float makes its return to the nation’s streets at dawn, Rosie Greenaway looks at what else is new on Britain’s breakfast menu

Remember when the first thing you would do upon waking was shuffle to the front door in your slippers and dressing gown to pick up a pint of semi-skimmed from the doorstep? Your morning brew and bowl of cereal relied on the fact that the friendly local milkman had done the rounds in the half light of morning, come rain or shine, replacing your empties before gliding off on a quietly whirring electric float. 

The tradition began circa 1860 when fresh milk would be transported from the countryside to cities. Fast forward to 1975 and 94% of milk consumed in Britain was sold in glass, but by 2016 that figure had plummeted to 3%. Somewhere in the annals of time plastic convenience overtook glass traditions; ‘nipping to the shop’ became more commonplace than placing an order with the milkman.

But with the recent awareness of plastic pollution came a slow revival of doorstep deliveries and between 2016 and 2018 Dairy UK recorded an increase of 200,000, taking them to one million a day. 

Modern milkies
Against this backdrop Modern Milkman was born. Drawing on his experience in farming and his passion for supporting local farmers and limiting environmental impact, Simon Mellin, founder and CEO, started the business to bring ‘convenience with a conscience’ to the public. “I’m also motivated by enterprise and using innovation to support a sustainable business. So when my friends and I saw David Attenborough’s Blue Planet and were so shocked by the amount of plastic found in our oceans, we made a pledge to drive the battle against plastic waste and set up the Modern Milkman in 2018 – with just a beat-up truck.”

The Modern Milkman uses a glass bottle refill model for liquids, while tea and coffee come in returnable metal caddies to maintain freshness. If a product requires packaging that isn’t reusable, only plastic-free, recyclable or home compostable alternatives are used. 

In the breakfast category, the business offers more than just milk and orange juice; eggs, butter, cheese, cream, bacon, milkshakes, yoghurts, baked goods, fruit, granola, muesli, peanut butter, marmalade, honey and jam can be ordered around the clock via app or website. Items placed by 8pm will arrive on the doorstep first thing the next morning, just in time for breakfast. 

Mellin speaks with pride about his team’s achievements; today the business operates from 16 hubs with a growing network of independent suppliers. “Our ‘milkies’ [have helped] save over 60 million plastic bottles.” With 500% annual growth under its belt, the Modern Milkman recently closed a series C investment round, securing £50 million in funding to ‘drive sustainability solutions across the grocery sector’ using pioneering data and digital technologies. 

“We have some very ambitious goals to reboot the milk round and embed the circular economy into the fabric of the UK”

“The future … looks incredibly exciting. We have some very ambitious goals to reboot the milk round and embed the circular economy into the fabric of the UK. We can’t do it alone, which is why we’re giving the nation the opportunity to invest in our exciting business,” adds Mellin, who launched a crowdfunding campaign in November 2022. 

Plant-based profits
It would be hard to imagine how any modern milk business could thrive in today’s market by selling cow’s milk alone, so the Modern Milkman wisely offers organic, free-range and sterilized ambient options as well as the ever-popular oat milk. 

Tapping into that plant milk market is clearly profitable; according to The Vegan Society, in 2019 the UK plant milk market was valued at £262.75 million and at the time accounted for 15% of the total European market. Forecasters place the future figure at a staggering £578.39 by 2025 – for anyone interested in CAGR margins, that’s 13.8% between the years of 2020 and 2025.

New to the plant milk scene in 2022 was Abbot Kinney’s – a Dutch alt-dairy brand which brought a range of lactose-free plant milks to UK breakfast tables. Using a blend of rice, soya and coconut, the brand presents with ‘distinctively clean, minimalist branding’ and uses only natural ingredients and simple processes to create its Best of Plants range (variants include Mild, Chocolate and Barista). 

Adele Ward, innovation controller at brand owner Ecotone, comments that ‘taste is often a key barrier when entering the category’. “But with Abbot Kinney’s unique blend of ingredients, the Best of Plants drinks are genuinely delicious either on their own, in cereal, hot drinks and in cooking. We anticipate they will have wide appeal, particularly with a younger audience due to the brand’s organic and natural positioning and contemporary brand identity.”

Toast toppers
Ward also acts as marketing director for Whole Earth, which continually picks up awards for its breakfast innovation. The latest best seller to join Whole Earth’s line-up is Drizzler – ‘the first and only squeezy peanut butter to launch in UK supermarkets’. “With a super smooth texture and more convenient squeezy bottle made from 100% recycled plastic, its arrival has been celebrated by peanut butter lovers up and down the country who have been encouraged to ‘shake it, squeeze it and drizzle it’ in an extensive marketing campaign,” says Ward. “Drizzler’s innovation has been applauded through its recent win as the top product launch in the spreads category in The Grocer Top Product Awards.”

Another toast-topper which caused a stir last year was Pip & Nut’s new Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter (available as Smooth or Crunchy). The product has all the hallmarks of a ‘cult classic’; it stars the brand’s signature high-oleic Argentinian peanuts, blended with ‘a sprinkle of sea salt’ which ‘perfectly balances out the natural sweetness’ of the Mexican agave. Pip Murray, brand founder, says the new creation is her ‘go-to’ when she’s craving a treat – at breakfast, or any other time. 

Also new in spreads are Clearspring’s versatile Organic Syrups. There isn’t much they can’t be used for in the context of breakfast: they sweeten hot drinks and baked goods; can be used as cake toppings, drizzled over pancakes and spread onto toast as you would honey; mixed through yoghurt and blended into smoothies; or added to a tray of home-made granola for a hit of refined- sugar-free sweetness. 

Three of the Organic Syrups are grain-based (Rice, Barley and Oat – the latter boasting an indulgent caramel-like texture) and are accompanied by Date and Coconut Blossom which ‘appeal to those with a sweeter tooth’.  

Breakfast batter
If there’s one thing our friends across the pond have taught us it’s that pancakes aren’t just for Shrove Tuesday; in the US and Canada pancakes are an iconic breakfast staple. But for Toronto-based Organic Traditions a fluffy stack of pancakes wouldn’t be complete without a few superfood ingredients thrown into the batter. Its new Pancake & Waffle Mixes offer a nutrient-dense way of consuming what Americans and Canadians sometimes call hotcakes, griddle cakes or flapjacks. 

Available in Original or Matcha, the mix combines certified gluten-free oat flour and prebiotic green banana flour with the ‘delicately sweet’ coconut flour – which the brand says creates the perfect blend for fluffy, subtly sweet pancakes or crispy waffles. For the batter, just egg (or egg replacement), milk or water, plus a drizzle of oil, is needed. 

Maddison Bekolay, manager of sales and education, Organic Traditions, speaks about the nutritional benefits: “The blend of flours are not just flour substitutes; whilst you are getting away from undesirable components of commercial flour such as additives, pesticide residue or even naturally occurring gluten, you are also actually experiencing benefits from the flours. Oat flour is made from gluten-free oats and high in fibre and iron. Green banana flour is high in resistant starch – a dietary fibre – rich in prebiotics and has no banana taste. Coconut flour has a delicious nutty flavour and is also high in fibre and iron.”

Another brand offering extra nutritional power in their pancake mix is Locako. Newly arrived in the UK from Australia, Locako masters the low-carb option with its keto DIY Mix Caramel Pancakes. Loaded with collagen and healthy fats, the light, fluffy pancakes make it easy for consumers to ‘have a sweet treat breakfast’ while remaining in ketosis. The brand even included gut-supporting psyllium husk and guar gum to ensure its customers get the best start to the day.


Biona Wild Berry Crisp Granola  

Windmill Organics
Tel: 020 8547 2775

Biona Wild Berry Crisp Granola is made with pure organic rolled oats and malted barley, combined with a variety of tangy organic berries, and baked into delicious crispy clusters. This high-fibre, nutritious breakfast is naturally sweetened, contains no added sugar or palm oil and is vegan-friendly. Stock this healthier vegan breakfast option now.
Available from Suma Wholefoods, Infinity Foods Wholesale, Dolphin Fitness Ltd., Health Stores Ltd., Lotus Wholefoods Ltd., Xpress UK Wholesale Ltd.


Organic Traditions Pancake & Waffle Mix

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel No: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

New Organic Traditions Pancake & Waffle Mixes are designed to make great-tasting, wholesome breakfasts easy. Available in two flavours – Original and Matcha, these delicious pancakes are fluffy, subtly sweet, and nutrient dense. Ingredients include a combination of certified gluten free oat flour, prebiotic green banana flour, and delicately sweet coconut flour – the perfect blend for fluffy pancakes of crispy waffles. To make the batter, consumers will need egg or egg substitute, milk or water, and oil of choice, all clearly communicated in an easy to follow instruction and diagram recipe on back of pack.


Linwoods Milled Organic Flaxseed

Linwoods Health Foods
Tel: 028 37568477
E-mail:  [email protected]

Linwoods Organic Milled Flaxseed is a versatile product that is popular for maintaining blood cholesterol levels as it is high in Omega 3. It is also a source of fibre and plant based protein and is gluten free and vegan.
Linwoods Milled Flaxseed is prepared with great care through our unique cold milling process to unlock the benefits of the seed for easy digestion and ensures the full nutrients remain intact. Simply add 2 dessert spoonfuls (20g) to your favourite meal such as porridge, yoghurt, smoothies or salad every day. Linwoods can be found in all leading supermarkets, health food stores and online at


Almond nooj and Cashew nooj

E-mail:  [email protected]

Nooj is your go-to dairy-free hero, a hardworking nut milk concentrate designed to be mixed with water to personalise your nut milk from ‘skinny’ through to pouring cream. Each pack can make up to 2.5 litres of milk, still with 4% nut so representing real value for money while at the same time offering, in paste form a nut dense, premium product. Highly versatile they are of great use in the kitchen, mixing with many other ingredients and providing convenient replacements for many other dairy items. Being compact too means that they offer a sustainability advantage over other, bulkier milks


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Having spent the early part of career putting her BA (Hons) in Media Writing to use as a freelancer writer across a number of industries – from wellbeing, food and travel to design and events – Rosie Greenaway’s post as editor of Natural Products News and Natural Beauty News began in 2017. In 2018 she co-launched NPN’s 30 under 30 initiative, is a regular presenter and speaker on industry panels, is a judge of several awards schemes in food and beauty (from the Soil Association’s BOOM Awards to the Who’s Who in Green Beauty Scandinavia) and acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Sustainable Beauty Coalition.