Redesigning The Milk Jug

The New York Times has an interesting article on a newly redesigned milk jug that’s starting to be carried by some Walmarts and Costcos here in the U.S. The jug was created because of the inefficiency of the traditional milk jugs shape. Because of the way traditional jugs are shaped, they have to be transported in crates 4 at a time, while the redesigned jugs can be stacked on top of each other and put on pallets. By packaging and shipping them in this new way, it’s possibly to ship 50% more milk at a time. This means savings in a number of different areas including at the register, where the newly designed jugs have dropped in price from $2.58 to $2.18.

But what’s interesting is that the people who’ve used the jugs aren’t totally thrilled by it. In a demonstration given by a Costco employee, she suggests setting the jug on the table and then pouring. To me this just sounds like a poor design decision. Why the hell does the opening need to be THAT big? It’s looks like it’s almost 2″ across. I just think it’s funny that no one took ergonomics into account, they just wanted to ship out more milk faster and cheaper.

I also completely hate the shape, it looks like it was put together by an engineer, not a designer. More than anything though it looks like a detergent bottle, and the fact that I related the jug of milk to detergent is pretty gross. Someone should really design a milk container that’s not only practical in many ways, but looks sexy as well. Why shouldn’t milk be sexy?


July 1, 2008