Critics have said that lightproof milk containers create a solution for a problem that didn’t exist. Dairy giant Fonterra claims that the new container they launched in 2013 was only trying to mimic the cow. After all, cows aren’t see-through. Fonterra’s tests indicated that 70 per cent of blind test subjects – subjects who didn’t know what they were drinking, not necessarily blind people testing – preferred the taste of milk coming from their new, lightproof bottle. The bottle’s three layers of lightproofing mean the contents are at less risk of being spoiled by exposure to light.
Why then did consumers nominate the new bottle for the year’s ‘Unfit Packaging Award’? It seems that in their hurry to innovate, Fonterra may not have realised that some consumers don’t like the idea of their milk being wrapped in three layers of plastic coating, and most consumers don’t like it when they can’t see how much milk is left in the bottle. Ironically though, this has itself led to a new wave of innovation as consumers invent ways of seeing how much milk they have left – one genius creating a ‘balsa wood ballcock’ to stick out the top of the bottle. Perhaps this whole thing could have been avoided had Fonterra realised that basically, people don’t like change, and unlike the new bottle, they will be able to see through any marketing gimmicks used to force it on them.