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Milk packaging around the world


Fat Guy
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Where I live, in New York City, if you buy a quart of milk at the supermarket it's almost always in a tall paper carton. A half-gallon is usually in a carton of the same height of the quart carton, but it's fatter. A gallon is in a square-ish plastic jug with a molded handle. Sometimes the half-gallons come in smaller versions of the gallon jug.

Meanwhile, I know many Canadians who buy their milk in plastic bags, and I know in a few countries the aseptic box is popular (you can get that here too, but it's a specialty item -- it's not how most people buy their milk).

What other kinds of milk packaging have you all seen? Is there any country that does something really unusual? Not that it's going to be easy to find something more unusual than milk in a bag.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Recently, I've started seeing milk products in pint-sized plastic bottles in San Diego stores. I think it started with flavored milks (chocolate, etc.), but I've sometimes seen plain milk in them too, especially in convenience stores. They tend to have those brightly-colored wrap-around plastic labels. I'm guessing that one motivation for the packaging, besides convenience, is to try to appeal to kids by marketing the stuff a little more like soft drinks.

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FG, I'll take some pics of different flavored milks in plastic triangular bags here in Korea. I promise to post it tomorrow after my doctor visit (got a nasty spider bite and now I'm having severe allergic reactions). :sad:

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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I lived in London until very recently. Our milk was delivered every morning to our doorstep. It came in glass bottles containing a pint each. We left the 'empties' out every night for the milkman to collect the following morning. They were used again by the dairy after being cleaned properly and presumably sterilised.

Here in Brussels there is no doorstep delivery that I'm aware of. Milk is sold in the supermarkets and comes in litre quantities in recyclable plastic bottles.

I miss the milk deliveries. I was often half awake when the milkman was doing his rounds and I liked the sound made as the bottles were put on the doorstep and also that of the milk float as it made its way up the street.

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We have still very good milk and dairy products here in austria and also a mass production. You get milk in paper cartons since years . I always try to get milk in glass bottles. You taste the packaging . I think glass is the best.

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We get milk in plastic bags, which are placed in a hard plastic container with a handle at home. These are one liter. Then we get cartons of 1 liter and 2 liters and plastic bottles of 1 liter. For kids there is a mini plastic bottle. Here is a site to see pics:

http://www.tnuva.co.il/site/he/tnuva.asp?pi=84

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Couple points to add. While the milk bags are very common in Central (and I assume Eastern Canada), out West the one gallon plastic jug is king (I prefer this to the bags). The bags are 1 1/3 litre here.

Good milk comes in a thick glass bottle, with a $1 deposit on the bottle. When I lived in Vancouver the glass bottle was very handy for safely transporting a syringe I found on the apartment property.

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I lived in London until very recently. Our milk was delivered every morning to our doorstep. It came in glass bottles containing a pint each. We left the 'empties' out every night for the milkman to collect the following morning. They were used again by the dairy after being cleaned properly and presumably sterilised.

...

I miss the milk deliveries. I was often half awake when the milkman was doing his rounds and I liked the sound made as the bottles were put on the doorstep and also that of the milk float as it made its way up the street.

I'd add to that, that in the UK, milk is still sold by the (proper-sized British) pint, rather larger than the US pint (or metric measure).

It may be worth remarking that the delivery "milk floats" (mentioned above) are (and seem to have been for 50 years) small electric delivery trucks. Though near-silent, they do make a characteristic "whoosh" (and rattle their bottles) as they accelerate rapidly to (a rather low) top speed!

The aluminium foil cap colours were standardised to indicate different types of milk.

In pioneering recycling efforts, children used to collect the aluminium caps.

Nowadays more milk is sold in supermarkets than by doorstep delivery. Supermarkets sell in HDPE (semi-transparent plastic) rectangular bottles with jug handles in 1, 2 and 4 pint sizes, all shaped to be stored on standard refrigerator door shelves.

But the colour-coding of caps and labels has not been standardised between supermarkets.

Plastic milk bottles are indeed a favourite target of recycling schemes.

But generally they don't want the caps...

UHT ("Longlife") milk is usually sold in rectangular 'tetra brik' packages.

When I was in Zambia, the milk in towns was sold in tetrapak's original tetrahedrons. These were surprisingly easy to handle, but took up rather a lot of fridge space once opened (by snipping any corner).

EDITed to add: The tetrahedrons were distributed in hexagonal crates. A delight for geometricians!

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Up until about 7 years ago, we were lucky enough in our rural Idaho town to have home delivery of fresh organic milk in glass bottles. The cream was thick enough to stand a spoon in. People use that expression all the time but it was literally true. That stuff ruined me for dairy products. I always feel disgusted by the greasy shaving-cream texture I get from whipped storebought heavy cream, and I'm never happy with the flavor of the milk I get. It all tastes dead by comparison.

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