PLANS to recruit more milkmen and milkwomen have been unveiled by a Scottish dairy that has said doorstep deliveries increased by a third since the start of the first lockdown.

McQueens Dairies has also opened a new 6.5 acre dairy facility in East Kilbride as part of a multi-million pound expansion plan that has seen the creation of over 100 new jobs across the business in the last year.

The family business specialising in doorstep milk deliveries was founded in 1995 by company chairman Mick McQueen and his wife Meg and now operates distribution depots in Scotland and north of England employing around 600 staff, including the couple’s five children who hold senior positions.

The Glasgow-headquartered firm is looking to open more depots north and south of the Border and said it will be recruiting across the business.

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Its new dairy will see milk production capacity more than double to 1.5m litres of milk a week, which the firm said will “comfortably accommodate increased customer demand for milk delivered to the doorstep which has seen the business grow significantly in the last twelve months”.

Mr McQueen said: “Investing in a new, large dairy is at the heart of the business’s growth plans.

“Our doorstep milk delivery business was growing significantly before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country but we have witnessed significantly faster growth as people demanded safer and reliable food delivery services.”

Along with the technology-led dairy equipment, including new refrigeration plant and pasteurising equipment, new filler lines and a significantly enhanced glass bottling line have been installed.

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Since March 2020, when the national coronavirus lockdown was introduced, the business has grown by almost 30 per cent as new customers have “sought out safe and reliable food delivery services”. The company also delivers orange juice, apple juice and free-range eggs to the doorstep.

Mr McQueen said the business has been able to respond to a switch in the way people are shopping.

He said: “We have seen a clear change in consumer buying habits in recent months and we are confident that demand for safe and reliable doorstep deliveries will continue.”

He said the firm is “looking at other new locations for additional distribution depots across Scotland and the north of England to meet demand, and to recruit more milkmen and milkwomen to work across the whole of our distribution network”.

It envisages scope for further growth beyond the pandemic.

Mr McQueen added: “It is also very pleasing to be able to buy more raw milk from First Milk, a dairy farmer owned co-operative that has been supplying us for many years, and if the business maintains its growth levels, as we expect it to, we will be buying even more, helping support family farming businesses.”

Fraser Brown, commercial director of First Milk, which is a Scottish-registered co-operative, also hailed the prospects. He said: “It is great to see McQueens Dairies opening its new production facility in East Kilbride and continuing its ambitious expansion.

“We have been supplying McQueens with fresh raw milk direct from our dairy farmer members for many years. Our farmers are committed to sustainable dairy production and we look forward to continuing to work with McQueens in the future to help them bring great tasting dairy to their customers across Scotland and the north of England.” McQueens Dairies Ltd has distribution depots in Glasgow, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Kirkcaldy, Galashiels, Mansfield, Huddersfield, Warrington, Preston, Stockton on Tees and Carlisle. Mr McQueen also said: “Customers drive our business and we have many who have been with us since we started. We now have many more and assure everyone that we are committed to giving them the very best service and product in the market.”