MDP launched the rebrand in partnership with Elopak in October in 1 liter and 500ml Pure-Pak Classic cartons, claiming the move was to improve convenience, make the brand look more modern and for added hygiene.
However, the launch coincided with ‘Our Ocean’ (October 5-6), an international conference in Malta to raise awareness about the damage plastic is causing to the world's oceans and marine life, leading to criticism on social media with the Twitter hashtag #scrapthecap.
In response, Jonathan Zammit, brand manager, Benna, told ‘Lovin’ Malta’ the cap is one of the lightest plastics on the market and the cartons themselves are 100% recyclable, made from unbleached board that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved.
"Benna's decision to go for plastic caps was taken for a number of reasons. Screw caps made it easier for the cartons to be opened by the elderly and people with mobility difficulties. They also help keep the milk fresher for longer and will combat wastage, especially in public places like hospitals where the old cartons gave the illusion of contamination and would be thrown away quicker,” he said.
"Some people have already made their voices heard on social media to say what a difference it makes for them to have screw caps. These people exist.
“There are pros and cons with changing the cartons but I believe there are more pros than cons and our aim should be to educate people to recycle plastic in the best way possible."
However, supporters of #scrapthecap are inviting people to collect the plastic caps to send them to the offices of Benna in protest at the decision.
Elopak worked with MDP to convert and adapt one of its filling machines to add the closure on its fresh skimmed milk, fresh milk 2.5%, fresh whole milk, fresh lactose free milk and fresh milkshakes.
The cartons feature an updated Benna logo and now list a ‘Farmer Owned – Quality Guarantee’ badge on the packaging. It has also expanded its milkshake range with coconut, chocolate and strawberry, in 500ml cartons.
“This is the first carton closure for fresh milk in Malta,” said Lionel Ploton, market unit manager, Elopak North Africa and Malta, at the time.
The dairy introduced lactose-free products to its consumer base last year to meet the growing demand for lactose-intolerant people.