Only in Canada: Bagged milk

Other / Canada


Earlier this year, MC over at Culture Kills amazed me with a little tidbit: bagged milk is a uniquely Canadian product!  Who would have imagined?

Outside of our borders, jugs of milk are the customary choice of many dairy consumers.   Otherwise the typical cardboard box that we also have available will usually make do.

Milk bags have several advantages over their jug-filled cousins:  smaller packages means less spoiled milk, the bags are recyclable, they use significantly less plastic than jugs, etc..  Outside of Canada, a few other countries that randomly dot the globe use milk bags as well: India, Poland, and Israel all prefer the milk bag.

For more on the subject, visit the post that enlightened me over at Culture Kills.

41 responses to “Only in Canada: Bagged milk”

  1. ONmomofthree says:

    I lived in BC and could not find bagged milk. when we came back to Ontario my kids thought it was the funniest thing. In BC we would buy milk by the jug

  2. ONmomofthree says:

    another advantage to bagged milk….you can freeze them

  3. Boo Radley says:

    Another advantage to bagged milk is that it’s easier to pour without spilling.

  4. Sally says:

    Glad to see this Boo, I do think although it is available in bags in some European countries its not as vast as Canada.

  5. Ian McKenzie says:

    Bagged milk is pretty much an Eastern Canada thing. You do stumble across them from time to time in the West, but it is the exception, not the rule. 😉

  6. Carlos says:

    We had bagged milk in Brazil for decades, but it’s funny that for some years we are trying to adopt the jug (although 1L only), and some people don’t want it, as the bagged milk is cheaper

    • AndrzejL says:

      Bagged milk is still available in Poland. We prefer boxed or jugged one BUT bagged one is still available in some of the shops as an alternative. For the same reason we still have milk in glass bottles. Alternative choices for different price range customers.



  7. Chris says:

    I’ve only ever seen the bagged milk in Ontario. I grew up in MB, but have lived in AB for 10 years now…I’d buy the bagged milk if it was available, far less waste to worry about.

  8. Adri says:

    I live in Vancouver, and when I was a child we only had bagged milk. It was delivered by the milkman.

  9. adora says:

    It is great way to save money, but I find it annoying that it is 4L divided in 3 bags. I was a math major, 1.33333L annoys me! (lol)

    I’m not sure if the advantage of bagged milk still stands with today’s fuel cost. Some newly designed squared jugs are used in the US. They are stackable, and do not require crates for transportation. More milk can be transported at one go and stored with less space. Bags will always need crates.

    In the end, milk production is very polluting. So that probably doesn’t matter.

  10. Tracy says:

    I find the bags sometimes carry an odour in the summer. I end up washing the bags before I put it in the container. I would prefer the jugs in the summer. Oh well.

  11. Kerri says:

    They also have bagged milk in Ecuador. As Carlos mentioned, bagged milk is cheaper than the jugs so that’s what we drank while living there.

  12. Koala says:

    They have bagged milk in Romania as well – I’m sure the jugs will disappear in the ongoing eco trend.

  13. Compmouse says:

    I’m not sure if this is true but I also heard that you can get bagged milk in Switzerland.

  14. nyc-toro says:

    I’m orginally from NYC and in Long Island at my cousin’s house, they had bagged milk years and years ago…sorry. Not just in Canada! 😉

  15. Allyeggpop says:

    Speaking of milk…Shopper’s Drug Mart currently has Dairlyland Milk on sale for $3.99. Its been on sale for awhile. I’m not sure if this is the cheapest out there, but at our house, we are saving the bucks we would normally spend at the convenience store when we run out, and we are collecting Optimum points!

  16. Justine says:

    I don’t buy the bagged milk, it’s too much milk for me. I would never think of freezing it either, I guess that is one option.

  17. Carla H says:

    Grew up with it in Alberta but they stopped making it in bags in the early to mid 90s. Same thing with the milk man. I think its an old thing more than just a Canadian thing…

  18. Julie says:

    We used to have bagged milk in BC (my MIL always bought it), but it is no longer available here – haven’t seen it in about 10 years.

  19. angelikmaya says:

    i am from France and we dont have bagged milk…i found that pretty funny when i came in Ottawa lol 🙂

  20. nis says:

    in BC we haven’t had bagged milk for like 2 decades.

    only when I came to archaic ontario did i see bagged milk for the first time in ages

    didn’t even know it was available anywhere in north america.

    i’m sure no one recycles them either.

  21. nis says:

    oh, and in reference to spilling, it always spills. you have to cut the dam thing at just the right angle and hold the back corner of the bag as you pour.


  22. Glen says:

    The right angle??? :|!!!

  23. nis says:

    hehe. yeah!

    I find when cut it less of an angle as I cut is towards the back of the jug it pours more like a spout.

    when my hubby cuts it as more of a downward cut, it dribbles.

    and sometimes you get a bag that seems to not drop down all the way into the plastic jug. that sucks too.

  24. Glen says:

    Push the one corner (the corner you aren’t cutting) in after you place it in the jug, then make your cut. It helps out pouring as well.

  25. nis says:

    who wudda thought baggeed milk would turn out to be such a hot topic.

  26. Glen says:

    I guess it is…at least to us, we’ve been the last 7 comments.

  27. chiachi says:

    I remember visiting relatives in the States and seeing the plastic milk jugs for the first time– I thought it was so strange! The one thing I hated about the milk bags was trying to put them into the plastic containers. They would get stuck halfway all the time.

  28. Raynygirl says:

    I know over the past 16 years or so I’ve had American friends come to visit they have gone into fits of giggles in the grocery store, poking the milk bags and then even call home to talk about it.. ha ha 🙂

  29. ZEINAB says:

    free coupon for milk and free sample

  30. abfab says:

    the bags may use less plastic than jugs, but neither the inside nor outside bag can be recycled in Toronto.

  31. Lucy says:

    My friend cuts it on both sides to stop it from flopping and spilling. I started to do this myself, and find it helps. I did it at my sisters house and we were sitting outside and her husband started yelling at her, why would you do that it spilt all over me. Serves him right for drinking from the bag. YUK! LOL!

  32. verna says:

    I like the idea of bagged milk. I buy it all the time and I can freeze it for later use. I put each bag in a zipper bag and then put it in the freezer. Saving money is a good thing and the milk doesn’t taste any different (Skim milk).

  33. Rox says:

    I don’t have a pouring problem most days! But it does happen on occasion. On the recycling side, I cut the top of the bag open once it’s empty and wash it well. Then I hand it over to my hubby who uses the strong plastic bags for storing bike parts and other small items. The plastic is pretty hardy and is good for storing heaving items. You could also use it as a freezer bag.

  34. Mike says:

    I live in Vancouver, grew up here, and also lived in Calgary for a few years. Bagged milk?! I thought that was something from the 50’s! I had no idea it was the main consumer-milk-distribution-platform in Mid Eastern-Eastern Canada!
    I guess it’s not as weird (or maybe just antiquated?) idea of a milk man delivering glass bottles of milk to your door each morning, while also collecting your empties.

  35. Johnny says:

    I lived in Ontario for 6 years and I hated bagged milk. It was a pain in the ass. You had to have some kind of jug to hold the bag, the plastic ones were too flimsy, the pottery jugs weighed about 20 pounds. You had to have scissors on hand to cut the corner for pouring. I don’t like the idea of an open bag of milk is just sitting there in the fridge, I prefer to screw a cap tightly on a jug. The spout invariably dribbled in the jug and got funky. Arrrrgggh! I’m soooo glad I’m back in Chicago. Ontario doesn’t know what the hell a good pizza is, either.

  36. Kathrina says:

    Never actually heard of bagged milk here in the West. :/ I had to look up ‘Bag of Milk’ just to know that the phrase Bag of Milk was a literal term instead of a euphemism.

    Wheteves XD


  37. brycon casey says:

    well looks like my american friend is right. BTW bagged milk sounds like the most retarded idea ever. I’ve never seen bagged milk in british columbia before and i work at a grocery store. I actually asked if we had it and my boss was like bagged milk? I’ve never heard of that before.

  38. Bagged milk was available in the Vancouver area once but isn’t any more.

  39. Andreas says:

    I find paying extra for Natrel brand bagged milk gives a longer expiration date and an even longer real best by date. Right now I’m on bag 3 of expired 8 days ago milk and there is no off smell or taste, at all. The other two major dairies would be sour curds even before expiration dates.


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