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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!

Dairy Diary

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.

The history of the Dairy Diary began with the 1982 edition

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

Look out for the next cookbook!

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