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Soy milk really makes me mad!

PaulF Aug 8, 2006 11:19 PM

I actually really like soy milk. I put it on my shredded wheat (fiber is SO important) and I put it in my daily decaf.

In fact, my whole family prefers it to cow milk and so we buy a lot of it. Different types, too. Plain and vanilla. Silk and Westsoy. Non fat and extra calcium. We have our faves, but depending on whether we're in a chain grocery, health food store or ethnic market -- we buy what's available.

But, what I want to know is:

How did the entire soy milk industry somehow miss the day they taught "milk cartons" in packaging school. I mean, I know you're competing with the dairy guys, but would it kill you to put soy milk in a milk carton.

I'm so sick of rectangular boxes with little plastic caps and foil dealies you've got to pull off. Half the time the foil tears and you've got to get a knife to cut it out and the other half the time the plastic top thing falls off and it's got no seal and the stuff is just a spill waiting to happen.

Even the Silk brand, which uses a container that looks like a milk carton, forces you to unscrew a cap and try and pull a plastic -- I dunno -- cork out of the bottle using a little plastic ring that also breaks off if you don't do it just right.

(inhale --- exhale)

Someone tell me why the soy milk folks insist on using crappy packaging. It's because they think they're better than everyone else, isn't it? "Ooooh, we're healthy, try and open this."

Thanks, I feel better now.

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  1. TexasToast RE: PaulF Aug 8, 2006 11:42 PM

    I think, like orange juice cartons, it has something to do with the lining on the inside of the carton and so they have to keep it foil fresh.

    Surely someone on here must work in a soy milk factory and can enlighten?

    TT.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TexasToast
      t
      theannerska RE: TexasToast Aug 9, 2006 04:49 AM

      Right - the plastic ring on the Silk containers (I am an addict as well) is exactly like the ones on orange juice containers. I never really gave much thought to it...it seems like there is always an extra step (i.e., removing the plastic ring or the foil part) but I've never had problems with spillage.

      ...IS there a 'hound out there who works in a soy milk factory?

      1. re: theannerska
        m
        maryv RE: theannerska Aug 9, 2006 09:58 PM

        Yeah, I think the Silk container is just the high-end version of the traditional milk carton. When I get cow's milk (Stonyfield Farms) it has the same plastic gizmo.

    2. t
      three of us RE: PaulF Aug 9, 2006 02:16 AM

      Lately, Eden Extra Original has had icky pulp in the bottom of their containers. We've been using it for 8 years and this past year the pulp shows up.

      4 Replies
      1. re: three of us
        jennjen18 RE: three of us Aug 10, 2006 08:04 PM

        Icky pulp--d'you mean like a hardening of the soy milk? That would be if its not fresh, and dont drink it, you'll have an upset stomach if you do (or maybe your stomach's stronger than that). Thats also another reason why there's that extra step in opening soy milk containers--yes, to keep it fresh, or else lumps would appear.

        For Chinese brands, they occassionally put soy milk in clear jug containers. This might be a better packaging alternative, but ALSO, the good thing with clear jugs is that you can turn the jug over, and see if there are any lumps sticking on the bottom of the jug. If there is, its gone bad, so you'll know not to buy!

        1. re: jennjen18
          b
          brige RE: jennjen18 Jan 9, 2007 09:13 PM

          I'm sorry, but i will have to disagree with you about the pulp situation. I work for the Australian Importer of Bonsoy, which is widely considered the best soy milk available. It is imported from Japan. It has the so called "pulp" at the bottom of the carton. This is not the soy going off, it is purely the soy bean "sedement" if you will. You should always shake your soy carton well before opening, to mix this. It is due to the soy milk not having any preservatives, which is why it also comes in cartons. It keeps it preserved without having to add any nasty extras. If your soy milk is off, it will totaally separate just like real milk. There will we cloudy water with hard soy lumps (large lumps, not like pulp). If a soy milk never had this sedement or "pulp" before, and now it does, it is probably because they used to add preservatives, and now they have stopped.

          1. re: brige
            b
            bettyemirzian RE: brige Jun 17, 2009 04:47 PM

            I have been searching for Bonsoy in the L.A area! Any ideas where I can find it? I recently tried it in the UK, and even brought a carton back to California with me... but now I'm all out :(

        2. re: three of us
          choctastic RE: three of us Jan 10, 2007 01:40 AM

          are you sure it's soy pulp and not calcium? I've had calcium settle onto the bottom of my orange juice and soy milks and i sometimes have to shake the carton really hard to get all the calcium off the bottom and back into the juice/ milk

        3. s
          Sam Ottawa RE: PaulF Aug 9, 2006 02:45 PM

          Really? Despite the pouring dilemma, I kinda like the fact that you can reseal the carton properly with a plastic spout that twists or clicks shut, rather than having the soymilk sediment gunk build up on the cardboard spout.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sam Ottawa
            c
            Claudette RE: Sam Ottawa Aug 9, 2006 09:22 PM

            I must be really clumsy. The soy milk always dribbles down the side of the carton onto my work clothes or the floor.

          2. l
            littlemackerel RE: PaulF Aug 9, 2006 02:53 PM

            have you ever considered that soy "milk" is not milk at all? that before it became a "health" food, it was not a dairy substitute and did not compete with dairy products? in fact, in asian grocery stores, it is still called "soy bean juice" or "soy bean drink" because that's what it is?

            i tend to buy them in those plastic quart sizes (which milk is also available in). perhaps you should look for those containers instead.

            2 Replies
            1. re: littlemackerel
              pinstripeprincess RE: littlemackerel Aug 10, 2006 04:34 PM

              most of the chinese soy bean drink i've ever had comes in the carton spout form traditional for milk. unless we're getting the jugs of it.

              although, morton's comment also has me wondering that considering soy is significantly higher in protein than milk is it enough of a difference that it would also spoil quicker?

              1. re: pinstripeprincess
                Morton the Mousse RE: pinstripeprincess Aug 10, 2006 06:08 PM

                My understanding is that it is not an issue of soy milk spoiling faster than regular milk, it is just that many soy milk manufacturers can't afford to keep their products cold for tranport and distribution. This is also the case with almond "milk" and rice "milk."

            2. Morton the Mousse RE: PaulF Aug 9, 2006 06:48 PM

              Most soy milk is kept unrifregerated before opening. As many soy milk manufacturers are relatively small, they cannot afford refrigerated transport. The plastic/aluminum containers are designed to preserve the soy milk and keep it from spoiling in an unrefrigerated environment. Silk is one of the larger manufacturers so they can afford more traditional packaging and refrigerated transport (which is why it's one of the only soy milks you'll find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store).

              I will spare you my usual tirade against the modern American soy industry.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Morton the Mousse
                m
                MakingSense RE: Morton the Mousse Jan 9, 2007 10:24 PM

                Marketing. Follow the money.
                Americans wouldn't accept soy bean juice or soy bean beverage so the industry changed the name to soy "milk."
                Americans also are resistant to septic, shelf-stable packaging for milk as is common in Europe, e.g. Parmalat.
                Soy bean milk is also available in that packaging in your stores but doesn't sell as well as in the dairy case.
                Soy bean producers found that by marketing their products cold, in packaging like dairy milk, in the dairy department, consumers would accept it as a substitute for milk more readily and they could increase sales.
                Claims for health benefits increased sales dramatically. People who previously did not drink milk added several glasses of soy milk, and the resultant calories, to their daily diets.
                American consumption of soy products has increased dramatically.
                The soy bean industry is very happy.

                1. re: MakingSense
                  John Manzo RE: MakingSense Jun 19, 2009 07:33 PM

                  This is OT but Parmalat is a dairy brand in Canada too, and it sells milk on the same paper containers and do all NA dairies. It sells UHT tetrapacked milk but it's not popular among most Canucks: http://www.parmalat.ca/ourbrands/parm...

                  I hate soy milk that's sweetened.

                  1. re: John Manzo
                    BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: John Manzo Jun 19, 2009 08:27 PM

                    Or, to quote one of my favorite lines from Father Ted: "You'd better get going, because milk goes sour. Unless it's UHT milk, but we have little demand for that. Because it's shit."

              2. Das Ubergeek RE: PaulF Aug 10, 2006 03:26 AM

                In Los Angeles, soy-milk IS available in 'normal' milk containers, you just have to know where to look -- fancy markets like Whole Paycheque and Gelsons and Bristol Farms.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  PaulF RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 10, 2006 04:48 PM

                  Thanks!

                2. PeterL RE: PaulF Aug 10, 2006 08:09 PM

                  Soy milk is packaged differently in different markets. In Asian markets here in Ca you see soy milk in opague plastic bottles just like cow milk, plus a couple of other packaging styles.

                  1. jfood RE: PaulF Jan 9, 2007 09:18 PM

                    My teenage daughter is the only one who uses the Soy Milk and she never has a problem with the carton. Likewise the rest of the family has no problems with the other cartons that we buy that have the little plastic thingy in the dispenser.

                    1. c
                      cooknKate RE: PaulF Jan 11, 2007 02:59 AM

                      I can't help but think that there are way more important things to get all puffed up about than how soy milk packages make you mad.

                      Honestly.......

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cooknKate
                        m
                        MakingSense RE: cooknKate Jan 11, 2007 03:12 AM

                        Gee, I dunno. Just the other day, I was wondering about why, with all the good advances in packaging, they still put cream in those little cardboard cartons that you have to rip open on the side, that never tear open smoothly, and don't seal back tightly.
                        I'd love to have that type of container like OJ with the screw-off cap and the pull-off seal inside. Or even plastic bottles. Of course the best is from the local dairy that still uses glass bottles, even in 2007.

                        1. re: MakingSense
                          BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: MakingSense Jun 19, 2009 08:28 PM

                          Move to New England. I think all of our major dairies put cream in cap-and-seal packaging, and we even have a few that use glass bottles.

                        2. re: cooknKate
                          PaulF RE: cooknKate Jan 11, 2007 03:42 PM

                          Sometimes a little exaggeration is lost on Internet message boards, don't you think?

                        3. q
                          queencru RE: PaulF Jun 17, 2009 07:47 PM

                          I buy organic milk and all the packaging I've seen is like the Silk brand. I think it's because it's easier to pour and keeps the drink fresh. I just think the typical milk carton is a thing of the past generally.

                          1. p
                            PandanExpress RE: PaulF Jun 19, 2009 05:09 PM

                            I think it's a freshness thing. Soymilk in plastic milk-type containers spoil faster. When I buy freshly made soymilk from the tofu factory or the Asian markets, it comes in the milk containers with a sell-by date that's pretty recent. If I buy it in the unrefridgerated section at a western market, it's one of those horrid rectangular containers with a far away sell-by date.

                            1. Honeychan RE: PaulF Jun 19, 2009 09:30 PM

                              You want crappy soy milk packaging, try Trader Joe's brand of it! It's not the container that annoys me, it's the opening/spout. A little strip of plastic-covered foil you rip off, then an ill-fitting plastic cap..I learned how ill-fitting just this week, when I went to shake it- and even HELD DOWN the lid and was rewarded with soy milk on my kitchen cabinets...*fumes*

                              Drinking the soy milk makes me happy, tho! My stomach thanks me for reducing my dairy intake, as done my gallstone. Even tho the packaging annoys me, i'll deal.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Honeychan
                                l
                                lgss RE: Honeychan Jul 14, 2009 04:13 PM

                                TJs website has a feedback option.

                              2. c
                                ChowinDown RE: PaulF Jul 14, 2009 10:16 AM

                                Lol. I always wondered about that too. When I finally get the little foil piece off, the milk doesn't pour right into my mugs and milk spills everywhere. Am I just bad at pouring newly opened soy milk? Perhaps the packaging was made like that since soy milk can last a lot longer than cow milk. Thoughts?

                                1. charentais RE: PaulF Jul 14, 2009 02:13 PM

                                  I agree.

                                  Fiber is so important.

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