One of the most challenging packaging dilemmas for many companies is shipping temperature-sensitive products. From melting or spoilage to cold shock and fat bloom, there are many ways that products are negatively affected by temperature fluctuation throughout shipment. When a company fails to use proper cold chain shipping products or methods, a product that left the warehouse in pristine condition may arrive to the customer looking, smelling or feeling rotten.

The first step to creating an effective cold chain shipping system is to understand the variables involved in a single shipment. When variables are understood they can be controlled for and, with the right cold chain products, perishable items will arrive safe and fresh to the customer.

Here are a few important questions to help account for shipping variables and find the best product for your cold chain shipping needs:

  1. What is the product you are shipping? Not only what is it, but how much, how big and how heavy? A small product may only require an insulated mailer, while larger quantities will require a box with an insulated liner or even a pallet cover.
  2. What is your current pack out? Do you use refrigerant, a box and insulation or void fill? How well is it working for you? If you are seeing significant spoilage, it is obvious that you will need a new option. It’s also important to know if your solution is overkill for what you need. Maybe there is a lighter weight, smaller or less expensive solution that would still be adequate to protect your product.
  3. What is the temperature of your product prior to shipment and the temperature of the area where your shipping materials and insulation are stored and staged? Ambient temperatures in the fulfillment cycle can make a big difference in how long your goods stay protected. Consider the temperature in your warehouse and how long the product takes to be packaged.
  4. What are your temperature excursions (range or not to exceed) and duration? Think about current levels and desired levels. How far apart are they? Do you know for sure that you are hitting your targets? If you are unsure, it is important to perform regular testing to ensure your cold packaging products are doing their job. Also, choose cold chain shipping products that are third-party tested and verified to achieve the results you need.

With some forethought and planning, it is easy to achieve exceptional results in cold chain packaging and shipping. PACs CoolPAC product line comes in box liners, roll stock, mailers, expanding mailers and pallet covers, to accommodate nearly any type of shipment.

Basic Temperature Thresholds for Popular Products:

For reference, here are some basic excursion thresholds and durations for popular product types:

  • Pharmaceuticals: 35.6F to 46.4F
  • Perishables: 40F
  • Chocolates (softening point): 85F
  • Chocolates (melting point): 93F