While Europeans are experimenting with milk in pouch style packaging, Walmart's discount club store Sam's Club is switching its gallon milk packaging to a square case-less jug.
Its the packaging story everyone is talking about.
The packaging style is not a new concept, but could represent a new direction in milk container packaging in the US.
The new style packaging began appearing at Sam's Club stores in November for their store brand Member's Mark milk (pictured) and is now sold in 189 stores the company said.
The square jug packaging will help retailers significantly reduce resources and materials used to package and transport milk. The square container jug reduces waste compared to the current standard #2 HDPE gallon milk jug which can only be stacked in layers if it’s inside another plastic returnable case or a corrugated box.
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.
Square case-less milk packaging isn't a new idea. The owners of Ohio-based Superior Dairy invented and began using this type of milk packaging back in 1998. The packaging was well received by consumers of the Canton, OH dairy which added several additional sizes of the square jugs to their product line up. The design never took off nationally in the US until being picked up by Sam's Club.
Creative Edge, a sister company of Superior Dairy is managing the design and license of the milk packaging. Packaging Digest ran a full profile of the company last year its well worth a look.
In a statement Sam's Club said, "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."
Sam's Club estimates the new case-less jug will offer consumers a cost savings of 10 to 20 cents.
“This is an exciting change for Sam’s Club Members and the dairy industry,” said Heather Mayo, vice president, Merchandising, 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.”
Sam’s Club is offering case-less milk gallons in 189 clubs. The milk is available in most Sam’s Club locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.
There are a handful of milk producers across the U.S. currently set up to offer the new case-less gallons and as more adopt the design, Sam’s Club hopes to expand distribution. We would also expect to begin to see the packaging appearing at Walmart stores.
Sam's Club is going so far as to offer customers classes in how to pour milk from the new containers. This seems a bit much but they are trying to be sensitive to consumers reaction to the change.