Passion for Packaging Innovation

Horizon Half-Gallon Milk Carton Usability Assessment


½-Gallon Milk Carton Benchmark

We are going to be venturing into assessing a number of carton package products on the market soon, and we wanted to establish our benchmark first. We do believe that gable-top packages are indeed the benchmark for carton family-packs on the market, which typically pack milk and juice. One of the mainstream packages in the North American markets is the ½-gallon carton that has evolved over the years to have progressively better openings. These packages are not aseptic, and therefore they are suitable for normal [fresh] shelf life products.

This package, as well as others like it, has a two-step opening, where the consumer first removes the cap [first step], and then a pull-ring [second step]. We do believe that two-step openings for family size packages (as opposed to on-the-go packages) are better, since the two-step opening delivers an added peace-of-mind. We favor them as long as the usability of the pull-ring is acceptable.

One of the negative elements of this type of opening, is the fact that the pull-ring piece ends up in the consumer’s hand, and need to be separately discarded. This, however, is a significant issue for portion-packs, and on-the-go drinks, where disposing this piece on-the-go separately poses an issue for consumers.


  • Capacity: ½ gallon
  • Opening: ∅24mm (internal diameter)
  • Dimensions: 95mm (W) x 95mm (D) x 242mm (H)


  • Pouring: the flow is abundant and controllable, and free from initial rush or gulping
  • Opening: the affordance was easy to grasp, the opening action was simple and easy. Two-step opening as preferred by many
  • Closing: the cap is easy to screw on, and sealed well
  • Structure: no buckle when grabbed


  • Opening: some consumers prefer single step opening
  • Handling: may be a bit wide for smaller handed people

Conclusion and Scores

The package performed satisfactorily in our assessment. The scores of our heuristic assessment are as follows:

Opening Star
Pouring Star
Closing Star
Handling Star
Overall Star

Your rating:

[starratingmulti id=1 tpl=12]

©2010 All Rights Reserved.