A FAMILY-RUN business has created new jobs after seeing a 30% increase in the number of customers in Chester wanting pints of milk delivered to their doors.

Mortons Dairies, which has a depot in Blacon, has expanded its network of routes across the city due to the rising demand for milk and food essentials.

As well as residential customers, the business also supplies milk to local firms, schools and the NHS from its Saughall Road base.

The company now employs more than 200 people as a result of the growing demand for food essentials including bread, cheese, eggs and breakfast goods.

Customers sign up online and get free delivery to their doorstep.

Over the past 12 months, Mortons Dairies delivers an average of 35,000 pints a day – up from 27,000 a year ago – across the North West region on its own fleet of over 100 electric vehicles.

Julian Harrison, joint managing director, said: “Our business has grown but we’ve been careful to do this in a sustainable and sensible way.

"During the first lockdown, we received a massive uptake in new customers in Chester and we’ve seen a 90% retention rate of these customers including during the periods where lockdown restrictions were eased.

“This has given us the confidence that there is a long-term demand for fresh food essentials being delivered directly to people’s doors.

"We are adding new postcodes in Chester to our delivery network every single day and will add them where customers demand.

"During 2021 we will continue to invest in people, equipment and new products - such as glass-bottled Oat Milk which has been a big seller as people try out dairy alternatives.

“The pandemic has forced people to look more closely at not just how they buy their groceries but also where they buy them from.

"We work with a variety of other trusted local independent producers of fresh food such as Robert Bakery and Langs Eggs and we have supported all our suppliers to market their goods to our customers.”

Norman Harrison, joint managing director, added: “People have recognised that the milkman plays an essential role in the community and that we’re the ‘original’ food subscription service.

"We’ve never gone away and we’ve delivered milk for nearly 100 years in the local community that we serve.

"We are fortunate to have incredibly loyal customers and a dedicated workforce who have pulled together during this time.

“Our staff in particular, as key workers, are going above and beyond the call of duty and the appreciation that we’ve had in our local communities has helped massively.

"We've been spurred on by the number of Chester residents who have sent us kind messages or left us encouraging notes on their doorsteps.”

Mortons Dairies has also played its part in supporting vulnerable members of the community including making food donations to local charities across the region during lockdown.