Passion for Packaging Innovation

Walmart milk jug is still one of the worst designs

Shown here in its Kirkland branded Costco version, but introduced by Walmart in 2008, this redesigned gallon sized milk jug remains as one of the worst examples of packaging design. The reasons that made this package so bad four years ago are still very valid.

A Bit of History

The original gallon sized milk jug has been around for ages, and for all of its shortcomings, it has served consumers well.

So, what drove Walmart to replace this milk jug with a horrible design? Cost of course, what else. But it was not so much the cost of the old package as it was its low distribution efficiency.

The old jug did not stack well in cold storage or during shipping, requiring dividers in-between layers on pallets. Also, due to its rounded shape, there was a significant amount of wasted volume. That’s where the cost was.

Road to Hell is Paved in Good Intentions

While reducing cost and passing savings to consumers are certainly noble intentions. But when it involves so much compromise, it is certainly questionable. This design ended up with significantly worse openability, pourability, and handling in respect to the older design. How bad? Very, very bad.

We believe that if the designers spent more time with consumers during the development of the package, they would not have taken some of these compromises.


  • This is not consumer centric design or innovation. This is distribution centric poor design. It simply does not work well for consumers.
  • Stackability in the warehouse or in a truck is not a direct consumer benefit. (We are well aware of the cost benefits, but we’d rather pay a few cents more and stay away from this package.)
  • Super bad pouring is guaranteed to spill every time. Shallow cap design and its position are to blame.
  • Shallow cap is difficult to grip. Not very suitable for aging populations.
  • The handle is not uncomfortable, however, shallow cap edge at the far edge (as opposed to center cap of the old design) in combination with a handle at the opposing edge requires level handling making it more difficult for the consumer. Also not very suitable for children and aging populations in that respect.
  • Flat wall sides show bad form bulging in every direction due to a design compromise made to increase distribution efficiency.

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