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Aug 8, 2006 11:19 PM

Soy milk really makes me mad!

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. 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?


    2 Replies
    1. re: TexasToast

      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 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

        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. 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

        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

          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

            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

          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. 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

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

          2. 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

              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

                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. 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

                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

                  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:

                  I hate soy milk that's sweetened.

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    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."