Milk Jug Usability

Picture: David Maxwell, NYT

A square milk jug has lots of benefits; because of its square shape, they stack more efficiently compared to existing milk jugs.  The shape makes it so that cartons of milk won’t require milk crates.  The net result is reduced transportation costs.

However, it seems they are not so easy to pour. According to the NYT article, training was required to show shoppers how to pour without spilling.

Mary Tilton tried to educate the public a few days ago as she stood at a Sam’s Club in North Canton, about 50 miles south of Cleveland, luring shoppers with chocolate chip cookies and milk as she showed them how to pour from the new jugs.

“Just tilt it slowly and pour slowly,” Ms. Tilton said to passing customers as she talked about the jugs’ environmental benefits and cost savings. Instead of picking up the jug, as most peopletend to do, she kept it on a table and gently tipped it toward a cup.

The fact that training is required makes this jug seems like a lazy design.  There must be a simple design solution that keeps the benefits of square milk jugs but makes pouring “intuitive”?

Solution, or Mess? A Milk Jug for a Green Earth – NYTimes.com

7 thoughts on “Milk Jug Usability”

  1. Yes, I remember seeing this and thinking “They set it up as if there is NO way to create an easy to pour square jug.”

    Total nonsense. For one thing, the milk carton I’m using right now is square.

  2. That is truly astounding…

    Also, the shape and lid on the jug make it look somewhat industrial, and not like something I’d like to consume.

  3. I stumled upon this while doing a search for milk jug. Yes, they are changing the milk jug for among other things, carbon footprint reasons, but you should consider moving to milk sachets or bags as some might call them. Liquid Living has developed a new product that makes the use of sachets so easy without spilling a drop and the milk stays fresher longer. This will allow you to contribute to the environment by saving 75% plastic. The developed tap instantly seals with the wall of a sachet and the dispenser is very user friendly to put in your fridge or to even mount on a wall.

  4. I want to comment that, I thought the new design was a cool idea, but after dealing with the inconvenience of them I thought maybe there could be a different design to the opening so that when you pour the milk, you get it where you want it instead of every where you didn’t want it. I’m sorry but those classes you hear about “how to pour your milk” what the hell is that, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out how to pour milk! I think this design is great for everyone involved in the transportation of the product but definitely not consumer friendly. Redesign the milk jug so it’s user friendly for everyone! This country is so obsessed with going green that it becomes an inconvenience to the consumer, you can still be green and convenient!

  5. To Ariel:

    There is use in crying over spilt milk, have you seen how expensive it is! I have three boy’s and I have to buy 6 to 8 gallons a month!

    (sorry couldn’t help myself)

Comments are closed.