A FRESH take on an early morning institution - dreamed up by four friends in a pub - looks set to to take over the north-west and beyond.

Eco-friendly doorstep purveyor The Modern Milkman has gone from a kitchen-table concern to supporting 16 rounds across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and soon the Leeds area.

Their old-fashioned glass bottle milk deliveries, as opposed to singe-use plastics, with fresh orange and eggs on offer, first trialled on the streets of Colne, has expanded to include baked goods, teas, coffees, and an array of cleaning products.

But their guiding principles of sustainability and reducing food (and drink) miles are still key. Even their brownies are wrapped in plant-based packaging.

Paul White, who set up the outfit with Tom Shaw, Simon Mellin and Becky Hilton, is still surprised by the reaction.

“It has taken off beyond our wildest dreams and one of our biggest challenges is finding suppliers so we can keep up with demand,” said Paul.

“We can take orders up to 10pm the previous night, via our platforms, so we’re also keeping things really convenient.

“This is the most sustainable doorstep delivery service out there.”

For Lancashire’s milk, they rely on Balmers, in Briercliffe, and Threlfalls, of Rishton, with eggs courtesy of Robinson’s, in Slaidburn, and Nelson-based DC Coffee and the Good Food Health Shop in Colne also weighing in.

This is a model they are also replicating further afield, as they look to expand west to Preston.

Just recently the firm passed the 66,000 pints mark, for a month, and Paul believes they are ready to face down the industry’s major players.

The team is also prepared to take their green message into local schools.

Countryfile has taken an interest in the venture, with the BBC Sunday night favourite set to film interviews with some of their suppliers.

And their business model will also be reviewed by the Farmers Guardian, the county-based publication edited by former Lancashire Telegraph business correspondent and Ribchester resident Ben Briggs.