Why does milk from the gas station always taste so bad?

Usually I buy milk from the grocery store (where it tastes fine) , but I have a gas station close to my house so occasionally I buy it there if I’m in a hurry. It always tastes funny. Like its semi- spoiled or has bacteria in it. Why is this. It’s not just this particular gas station (HESS) but others as well I have tried over the years.

I’ve noticed the same and always assumed it was due to light damage. Haven’t bought milk at a gas station for a long time, so I can’t recall exactly what the bad taste was.

Light damage? Their are lights in the cooler at the grocery store too.


Are you quite sure you have been checking the expiration dates ?

Also the supermart reefer temperatures are checked and double checked
daily. Whereas the reefer temp in a gas station is going to be checked by
one superman or superwoman only once in a blue moon.

Gas stations are usually small enough that the dairy case might get direct sunlight, whereas the dairy in a grocery is often at the back of the store. (I do not know how sunlight through windows affects milk taste.)

I first assumed it was a lazy delivery driver for a particular gas station, but I found that every station in my vicinity had the same problem at one time or another and all of them are small buildings where the interior is well lit by sunlight.

It may also be that the lighting is not correct for dairy products in the cooler. See: Safe Spectrum Lamps- For Dairy Case Lighting

It’s reefer madness!


matt357, are you sure the stuff you are getting at the gas station is not UHT sterilized rather than pasteurized? As they probably have a much lower turnover of milk, the gas station might stock sterilized for its much better shelf life, but it does taste distinctly different.

Different brands of milk have different tastes. One usually likes what one is used to. It may be a brand issue.

I’ve never had that problem myself.

Perhaps it’s UHT milk and you’re used to something a little fresher?


At the store it is unloaded from a refer truck and in a short period of time it is put into the stores cold box.

At the gas station the owner may have took his unrefrigerated truck to pick up supplies. Gets to the gas station and unloads everything. Customers come in and he takes care of them. Then starts to put supplies away.

If milk has been allowed to warn and then cooled again the taste will be effected.

I’ve never noticed this in Chicago. I don’t buy milk from gas stations, but I frequently buy it from convenience stores and it is just fine. These are convenience stores located at busy pedestrian areas so I imagine the convenience store sells quite a lot of basic staples.

I’ll WAG. Convenience stores, that usually sell gas, have used milk as a loss leader to get people to shop in their store. While everything else is overpriced compared to the grocery store, milk is usually pretty cheap. It stands to reason that they are trying to buy at the absolute bottom price. That probably means that the milk they are buying is near the expiration date. It’s milk that the dairy has to rid themselves of before they have to dispose of it. Compare the expiration dates to the dates on the milk in the supermarket. I’ll let you do the footwork. Tell us what you find.

I wonder if they keep their fridges above 40 degrees?

Used milk. Ewww.

I buy my milk at the local Kwik Trip convenience store all the time - I actually prefer theirs to the grocery or Walmart, though I do on occasion buy from those places as well (depends on where I am when I need it) and I’ve never had milk taste bad or go bad. Expiration date has never been any closer at the KT than at the regular stores. They’ve also got the best (and cheapest) bananas in town so I get those there as well.

I might buy that explanation at a small mom-and-pop gas station / convenience store. If it’s part of a national / regional chain (like Circle K, 7-Eleven, Speedway, Kwik Trip, etc.), I suspect that the milk, like the other perishables, is delivered by supplier trucks, the same way it is at a grocery store.

I’ve had the opposite experience at my Exxon convenience store. It’s the same major brand that Kroger sells. But the milk at my Exxon is fresher and the expiration date is often a couple weeks away. The milk at Kroger is usually expiration dated maybe ten days away.

I always thought it was because Exxon doesn’t stock much milk. It sells out quick and it gets restocked directly from the truck.

I guess it all depends on the store.

I think supermen and superwomen wouldn’t have time for such mundane chores.


I used the term “superman” to illustrate the common business practise of running an
enterprise shorthanded in order pocket the wages saved. I have seen a lot of retail shops
with one clerk or employee doing the work of 2 or 3 persons. The owner makes a better
profit and the bloke doing all the extra work gets shafted. I was not at all referring to the
syndicated comicbook characters.

Cheers, Singanas

My father in law worked for a milk company. His job requirement was to deleiver the milk to loading dock of the stores on his route. He noticed that the smaller stores were slow in getting the milk into the coolers. He would role the milk a little futher into the store and put it in the cold box.