A Mini Guide to Cold Shipping of Perishable Food for Small Businesses

Food by far is the most vulnerable product processed and the vulnerabilities is attributed to the perishable nature of it. Big companies can incur huge costs to ship food items which must stay cold, however small food businesses may burn a hole in the pocket that could squeeze their profits. 

Here is a mini guide on how as a small food business you can economically ship your product that not only burdens you with extra cost and keeps your product intact. There are various conditions that affect the packaging of the product.

 Keep the heat out 

The first thing to do before you ship products that must stay cold is to keep out the heat. In order to do that, you must choose the right insulation. There are several options from which you can pick the best insulation for your product. 

  1. Styrofoam Boxes- 

One of the best insulators are the Styrofoam boxes. Although, they come in standard sizes, the thickness varies. Edible products such as ice creams are transited in these boxes, stacked with dry ice. The extruded polystyrene board is a great insulator and keeps out the outside heat. The price of Styrofoam boxes depends on the thickness; thicker the boxes expensive they are. 
  1. Styrofoam cut sheets-

Unlike Styrofoam boxes which come in standard sizes, Styrofoam sheets can be made into customized boxes. The thickness of these sheets varies and they could be economical than the boxes. 
  1. Insulated liners- 

Insulated liners look similar to emergency blankets, but they have a bubble wrap texture. These liners are lined with reflective metalized film which keeps the temperatures consistent during transit. What the bubbles do? Well the bubble lining provides a cushion to the items. 
  1. Air-filled insulation liners- 

These liners are pouch-like bags which inflate on being pumped. Just like insulated liners they can be put along the walls a box and products that require must stay cold are put in the cavity. Here, the thermal properties of the air work in keeping out the outside heat. Air-filled insulation liners are economical as compared to other insulators. 

 What ice to use? 

After keeping the heat out, the next important thing of cold shipping is keeping your product in a conducive environment and by that we mean cold. For that, you either need ice packs or dry ice. 

  1. Ice packs- 

Ice packs are a common cold shipping packaging material in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Medicines and injections that need to be stored in a cold environment are transited with ice packs. Ice packs are hazard-free to handle as they simply packed ice and are economical. 
  1. Dry ice- 

Dry ice is a hazardous material to handle. Handling it with bare hands may leave you with severe consequences. However, dry ice is used at a large scale to transit edible items such as ice cream, the reason being they are much more effective than ice packs. Dry ice is expensive than ice packs. 

 There are 2 important principles of cold shipping—keep out the heat and keep it cool inside. Choose the best insulators and cooling agents before you proceed.