When you look at Milk Topz, you may see a simple little lid that sits on top of the milk to help keep it fresh in your fridge. But the values and innovation behind these colourful milk bottle tops are so much deeper than you might imagine.
“I’ve actually been in the military for 15 years, working as an HR manager,” explains Milk Topz creator Nathan Haigh. “I started with basic admin, and as I’ve moved up I’ve taken on more complex tasks.
“I’ve found it really rewarding to help people with their welfare, and to support them in, what is in some cases, obviously a potentially very dangerous job,” he says. “It’s really important to military personnel that they can be fully focused on what they’re doing, without them needing to worry about stuff at home.”
As it turns out, making home life easier is also an important part of the Milk Topz story.
Making life easier
“The problem with milk bottles is once they’re open, you have to keep them upright all the time,” explains Nathan. “If you can move them around and put them on their side, it frees up space in the fridge and it’s actually quite helpful. That’s how I came up with the idea for Milk Topz.
“I started getting my milk delivered a few years ago,” recalls Nathan. “But I kept having that common issue with the foil top, where it falls in the milk or falls off into the fridge, then the milk spills everywhere. After a while the smells from the fridge go into the milk and make it taste funny, too. So I went online and bought the best milk bottle caps available for covering the milk and soon realised they weren’t very good at all.
“I already had a background in e-commerce from selling various products on Amazon as a side business,” he explains. “But because I couldn’t find any reusable milk bottle tops I believed in and wanted to sell myself, I decided to step into the design space and make my own.”
Milk you can move anywhere
“The end result is completely leakproof – there’s no other product on the market that offers what Milk Topz does,” says Nathan. “These are milk bottle caps that let you literally put milk anywhere in your fridge. You can even store them upside down, and the liquid won’t leak out. It’s a real first.
“They’re also completely airtight to keep the fridge smells out,” continues Nathan. “Fridges always smell a bit funky, don’t they? So it’s always good to keep the milk smelling and tasting like it only just arrived that day – even a few days later.”
Making Milk Topz a reality
Asked about the creative process, everything came about faster than you might expect.
“From coming up with the original idea for leakproof milk bottle tops, to actually selling them on Amazon, took probably around six months,” says Nathan. “I spoke to a design company and we came up with some design ideas, made some moulds, and it evolved from there.”
“The creative process essentially involved me looking at the two best reusable milk bottle tops brands currently on the market at that time and learning from them both; taking the time to understand them, and decide what I liked about each of them,” he says. “Then I took those basic ideas and found a way to bring them together into something nobody had ever made before. From there, I worked with some really talented designers who were able to help me take the idea forward and turn it into a physical product.”
Small innovation; big difference
Asked to pinpoint the major difference to the competition, Nathan cites something that’s so simple, you wonder why nobody’s ever come up with it before.
“The big feature of Milk Topz is that they’re entirely waterproof and airtight; you place them on the top of the milk and it’s completely secure. That’s because inside the lip of our milk bottle tops there’s a little recess that fits exactly over the bottle, stopping any milk from getting outside it. This lip sits about 5ml inside the bottle, which stops any fluid from getting through.”
“It seems a little thing, but it really does make a huge difference! It’s funny, because as we were prototyping I said to my designer “why don’t we add a lip to the bottom of the cap?” and it was like ‘oh, yeah that’s great!’ It helped a lot!”
A greener way to get and store your milk
But what was it that led Nathan to get his milk delivered the old-fashioned way in the first place?
“It was mainly environmental issues that made us transfer over to getting milk delivered in a glass bottle,” he explains. “A lot of milk from the shops comes in big plastic bottles which end up in landfill and eventually make their way into the ocean, and I started seeing lots of programmes on TV about turtles with plastic straws stuck up their noses and sea birds that had stomachs full of plastic, that sort of thing. So I wanted to try and reduce my use of single-use plastics as much as I could.
“Obviously, it’s a little bit more expensive to get milk delivered in a bottle, but I think it’s important to help the planet as much as I can. I know there are a lot of people out there who agree!”
Feedback so far
Asked what his favourite part of developing and launching Milk Topz has been, Nathan can’t help but smile.
“I love reading the reviews I get,” he says. “Just hearing how much the product has helped them. I get a lot of reviews from people saying how much it’s changed things for them. Perhaps not how they’ve lived their lives – that might be going a bit far!” he laughs. “But certainly it’s helped them organise their fridge, and it’s given them milk that stays fresher longer, and that they can store anywhere.
“Having reusable milk bottle tops that really work… it’s just one of those comparatively small things around the house that really can mount up to make all the difference in your day”
Hopes for the future
Quizzed about the brand’s future, Nathan is full of energy and ideas.
“We’re also looking at other products outside of milk bottle caps,” says Nathan. One of them is potentially an outside storage box to keep milk at a certain temperature that keeps the animals away from it.
“However, my first focus is to just get Milk Topz themselves in front of more people in more places. They really are just that much better than the competition.
“I really do feel like these simple milk bottle tops are a potentially game-changing product,” he elaborates
“If one of the big blockers to people using reusable milk bottles over plastic ones is the inability to keep the milk fresh, and store it wherever you want… well, Milk Topz completely changes that. Hopefully they can have an impact on people increasing use of glass bottles, and reducing people’s plastics.
“It’s just a little lid that sits on top of the milk,” says Nathan. “It’s a really simple idea. But I see it as doing my bit to help the planet – as well helping your local milkman and your local dairy farm. To me, all of these are really important.”