History of the Dairy Diary
The history of the Dairy Diary began way back in 1968, the Milk Marketing Board launched a cookbook to be sold via the milkman, designed to support the doorstep delivery service and to encourage milk sales. The book was The Dairy Book of Home Cookery.
This book proved to be so popular, that it was revised and reprinted in 1978, 1992, 2012 and 2018. It has sold over three million copies in the UK and has become the crucial cookery ‘bible’ for many households. In fact, it was voted one of the most reliable cookbooks of all time by BBC Good Food readers.
Numerous recipe books published by the MMB followed the Dairy Book of Home Cookery, including the Pennywise cookbook and Clever with Cream.
In 1980 the MMB published the Dairy Book of Home Management, which was a comprehensive guide to running a home, managing a garden and caring for the family. It was edited by Neil Tennant, who later went on to edit Smash Hits magazine and then form the Pet Shop Boys. Very much a book of its 70/80’s era it covered a vast range of topics, with information varying from facial exercises to tips on how to plan a funeral!
At the beginning of the 1980’s the MMB was looking for a new publication, which could be used regularly in the home whilst also promoting milk and dairy product usage. A diary containing recipes and household information was the answer. So in 1981, the Dairy Diary was born. It proved more popular than the MMB can ever have imagined, selling over 1½ million copies in its first year. The history of the Dairy Diary truly begins.
The launch of the Dairy Diary was supported by a strapline at the end of generic TV milk adverts. This was later followed by the Dairy Diary featuring in the “dancing milk bottles’ milk TV advert. In 1995 the Dairy Diary had its own advert which was shown during breakfast TV.
The Dairy Diary’s unique blend of food, household hints and diary pages prompted the creation of the ‘home diary’, a product sector in its own right, which resulted in several copycat diaries, who also saw the benefits of a home management publication.
Following the closure of farmer organisations (MMB and Milk Marque) the Dairy Diary and associated products were sold in 2001 to an independent publisher Eaglemoss. In 2022 it was acquired by former Head of Operations at Eaglemoss, and owner of Trek Logistics, Nigel Mothersole. It remains under the management of Emily Davenport, who has been producing Dairy Diaries for over 23 years. The new change of ownership will ensure exceptional fulfilment and customer service, and a secure and exciting future for the iconic brand.
Throughout the history of the Dairy Diary, it has remained true to its roots and still sells via the milkman. It’s now 41 years old and still has an extremely loyal following, with many purchasers owning the full set of diaries, dated right back to the early eighties.
The look of the Dairy Diary has changed radically over the years with its design and photographs echoing the changes in fashion and food styling. Its recipes reflect the growing interest in international cuisine. As a diary, it has developed with the benefits of; spiral binding, a notes pocket, sticker sheets and the addition of a pocket-sized version.
In recent years, following the success of The Dairy Book of Home Cookery, a series of highly successful cookbooks has been published. Each cookbook features a collection of themed, triple-tested recipes created to inspire everyday cooks to produce fabulous food.
The Dairy Book of Home Cookery 1968, 1978, 1992, 2012, 2018
Dairy Book of British Food 1988
Dairy Book of Family Cookery 1990
Everyday Specials 1996
The New Dairy Cookbook 2001
Quick & Easy 2003
Year Round 2005
Around Britain 2006
Hearty & Healthy 2007
Clever Cooking for One or Two 2008
Just One Pot 2009
Good Food, Fast 2010
Take a Box of Eggs 2012
Clever One Pot 2013
Fantastic Food for Less 2014
Just for One or Two 2015
Dairy Diary Favourites 2016
Cook it Slowly! 2017
Quick After-Work Cookbook 2018
Around Britain Reprint 2006
A Zest For Life 2020
More Taste & Less Waste 2021
Healthier Comfort Food 2022