New Green Milk Jug Design Cuts Costs But Is Difficult to Pour

milkjug.jpgThe gallon milk container has a new look at Wal-Mart and Costco—one that's designed to cut shipping costs, be more environmentally friendly, and keep milk fresher. It also costs less, at $2.18 at one Sam's Club, down from $2.58.

There's been some crying, though: Some customers complain that the boxy and spoutless shape makes them "feel like novices at the simple task of pouring a glass of milk."

In fact, the jugs have caused so many gripes that Sam's Club now holds in-store demonstrations with milk and cookies to teach customers how to pour milk:

"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 people tend to do, she kept it on a table and gently tipped it toward a cup.

Mike Compston, who owns a dairy in Yerington, Nev., described the pouring technique in a telephone interview as a "rock-and-pour instead of a lift-and-tip."

Demonstrations are but one of several ways Sam’s Club is advocating the containers. Signs in the aisle laud their cost savings and "better fridge fit."

Pouring difficulties aside, the design has helped make milk production more efficient. Unlike the old containers, which had to be transported in crates, the new jugs can be stacked on top of each other, allowing larger truckloads. And water use—to clean the now-eliminated crates—has been cut by 60 to 70 percent, Sam's Club says. And, coolers at Sam's Clubs can now hold 224 gallons of milk, versus the previous 80 gallons.

The new jugs, which rolled out last November, are available in 189 stores across the country, and will continue to appear in more Sam's Club stores.

I have yet to see these new jugs, but the fussiness over the pouring issues seems a tad excessive. If you've run into these new jugs, what's your verdict?

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