New milk container to reduce costs

Posted by Isobel Drake on 2nd July 2008

Milk jugs

A new milk container is being sold in the US, which reportedly does not require crates or racks for shipping and storage, and reduces costs.

Sam’s Club, the second largest wholesaler in the US, have already shifted to the new milk containers. The new containers are a square shaped gallon, which represent a packaging change consistent with the transformation of milk from pitchers to glass bottles in the late 1800’s and then cardboard cartons to plastic gallons in the early 1950’s.

According to Sam’s Club the square or case-less milk jugs do not require crates or racks for shipping and storage. Instead, the newly designed milk gallon is self stacking because the spout is flatter and each gallon can rest on another during transport, as well as while on display. It’s estimated trucks used for shipping from the processor to club can accommodate 9% more milk — 4,704 gallons per truck or approximately 384 more jugs — without any metal racks (according to initial research with a limited number of suppliers). In addition, the flat top and wider spout do not come in contact with other equipment during filling reducing the risk of possible contamination.

Sam’s Club reports that the new case-less jug also delivers cost savings of between 10 and 20 cents to the consumer.

“This is an exciting change for Sam’s Club Members and the dairy industry,” said Heather Mayo, vice president of Merchandising at Sam’s Club. “There are many efficiencies and benefits to case-less milk jugs and one of the best advantages is that we can pass on the lower cost to our members and they benefit from the extended shelf life and added freshness.”

There are a handful of milk producers across the US currently set up to offer the new case-less gallons and Sam’s Club is seeking to expand distribution when more producers adapt to the new packaging. Other stores are looking at buying the new milk jugs, with consumer complaints that they are more difficult to pour the only reported downside.