Booths store Keswick

Source: Booths

Booths launched the system at its store in Keswick

Booths has introduced a new ‘state-of-the-art’ milk vending machine to its Keswick supermarket.

The refill system, which will offer fresh milk and milkshakes in refillable glass bottles, launched today as part of an ongoing trial by the upmarket retailer. 

Like with other refill systems, customers purchase a glass bottle from the Booths store, which they can fill with pasteurised milk or a flavouring of their choice. They then bring the clean bottle back to the store to be refilled when they need a top up. Customers have the choice of either a 500ml or one litre bottle, which costs £2 and £2.50 respectively.  

Booths said it had introduced the technology – which is manufactured by Daisy Vending – following feedback from a customer who wanted to acquire locally produced milk, in a glass bottle. The feedback prompted the store manager Matt Welsh to contact nearby dairy Midtown Milkhouse, a family run dairy farm in Caldbeck, North Lakes.

The farm – which is run by the Hodgson family and has a herd of 250 pedigree Holsteins – first installed the same system to their farm in 2020 during the pandemic. The dairy will supply the milk used in Booths’s machine, and will manage the daily maintenance.

“Customers have been asking us about buying milk in glass bottles, but there were challenges around how we managed collection and return,” said Welsh.

“The vending machine seemed like a neat solution to the problems we faced, so we set up a meeting with our buying team.

“I’m confident that the machine will be a success with local customers and offer a true taste of the Lake District for visitors. Since they pasteurise the milk on the farm, we can assure a direct link from the farm to Booths. The result is a truly local brand of milk in attractive and sustainable glass bottles. I think our shoppers will love it,” Welsh added.

Booths joins a growing number of independent retailers and farm shops to install milk vending machines, which have increasingly been used by farmers as a way of growing their business since the Covid pandemic.

Booths has not yet said if it plans to launch the system in any more of its 26 stores.

It’s the latest launch as part of an ongoing store development programme by family-owned Booths to modernise its store footprint and supply chain. It includes plans to strip self-checkouts out of the majority of its stores.

Keswick, which is among Booths’s busiest stores, is one of two Booths supermarkets that will retain self-service checkouts as part of the work.