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The Magic of Milk Vending Machines

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

We often get asked 'so how does the milk vending machine work?' or 'how do you clean it?'

Well firstly, sorry to disappoint, but there isn't a real cow inside! Instead there is a large stainless steel can on wheels. Actually, each can has a name to help us identify where they are due to be sent. We could have numbered them, but names were more fun, so we have Agnes, Daisy, Iris, and many others.

Each can has a motor on top, to power the paddle that stirs the milk and prevent the cream rising to the top. If we didn't do that, the first customers would get skimmed milk and the last customers would get double cream!

There is also a pump, and a nozzle, to dispense the milk. When you fill up at a vending machine you will see a nozzle pop down in the dispensing compartment. That nozzle is part of the can and it, and anything else which touches the milk, is always brought back to the dairy to be cleaned when we change the cans.

We don't 'top up' the cans with fresh milk, but rather we exchange them, taking away the old can and replacing it with a new one. Any milk left over, is returned to the farm to be fed to calves, or passed to Shrewsbury Food Hub, where it is distributed among community groups.

The vending machines can also send us messages. So at set times each day, they send a message to tell us how much has been sold. This helps us to plan production and replenishment. They also monitor the temperature, so if the temperature inside is above a certain level they will send us a message, and if it's too high for too long they will lock up and not dispense milk. They can even tell us if there is a power cut!

Our 24 hour milk vending machine here at Hatton Farm is accompanied by a product vending machine selling essentials like eggs, cheese and orange juice, as well as treats like locally produced fudge, honey, jams and apple juice.

When you buy organic milk from our vending machines you can be sure it is the freshest and most sustainable milk you can buy. It is fresh from the farm and has only travelled the short distance to the vending machine. By comparison, milk from the supermarket is collected from farms every two days, transported hundreds of miles to processing units, distribution centres and finally back to supermarkets. Proper Good Dairy is from one source, our own grass fed, organic dairy farm.

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