Essential guide to chilled packaging
Since their rise in popularity in 2012, meal kit delivery services have experienced a vast expansion in a short time.
As the market is expected to reach $25.6 billion in 2027, this growing industry is on track to become a successful representation of providing a convenient service many consumers didn’t know they wanted.
But you can’t send salad, fresh vegetables, and meat in a regular cardboard box, right?
If you’re shipping temperature sensitive goods, you will need to use specialised packaging to ensure your goods stay in the best condition during shipping. This article covers everything from our top products to popular questions about chilled packaging.
What is temperature controlled packaging?
Temperature controlled packaging (TCP), also known as thermal or chilled packaging, is designed to preserve the temperature of your products. This helps temperature sensitive goods, like chilled or frozen food, stay in the best possible condition during shipping.
A temperature controlled packaging solution often contains an outer cardboard box, an insulating liner and a coolant (e.g. ice packs).
Which services need chilled packaging?
When you think about which products are shipped in chilled packaging, most people think about food. And while food is perhaps the most common temperature sensitive product shipped in this specialist packaging, it can be used to protect a wide range of goods, such as pharmaceuticals and chilled / frozen pet products.
Chilled packaging can also be used at various points in the supply chain:
- Cold chain airfreight – For the shipment of perishable goods throughout the airfreight supply chain.
- Perishable goods delivery – For the shipment of food, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies. Ideal for items that need to be a desired temperature throughout the journey, from the warehouse to your home.
- Bulk cold chain stock movement – For bulk shipments of perishable products throughout the supply chain process, e.g from farm to store.
The best packaging products to ship temperature sensitive goods
There are generally three different product types in our thermal packaging range, these are:
- Boxes and Liners
Let’s break these down and highlight some chilled packaging solutions.
Boxes and Liners
Chilled packaging shipping packs include an outer cardboard box and thermal liners. When used with a suitable coolant, these shipping packs are suitable for frozen, chilled, and ambient goods in transit.
Our outer boxes are available in various sizes, and we offer paper-based and metallised bubble liners – so you can choose which would best suit your products and business. Some highlights in the range include:
- RecycoolMe – A great sustainable packaging solution for shipping temperature sensitive goods that is comprised of an outer box with a recyclable paper-based liner.
- CooliMate® – The CooliMate® shipper consists of a double wall outer carton and metallised bubble liners; this coating reflects up to 97% of radiant heat away. When used with a coolant, the pack can maintain a temperature of between 2 – 8°C for up to 48 hours.
Coolants are used to ensure that in-pack temperatures remain low during transit.
Whether you are shipping chilling food or pharmaceuticals, our coolants can be used for various applications and are available in various sizes. Three examples of coolant options you have are:
- Ice sheets – Strong, safe, clean and pure, available in 3 sizes.
- Gel packs – Highly purified water that has been through a 6-stage filtration, UV sterilisation, softening and chlorination process. Our gel formula is less susceptible to deformations, allowing them to remain more uniform when freezing.
- Sorbatek – Developed with the seafood industry in mind, these maintain temperatures for up to 48 hours when combined with our CooliMate® shipper range.
Our bulk chilled packaging solutions can help you control temperatures in transit if you’re shipping products in bulk on pallets or trolleys.
All our products are suitable for bulk cold chain stock movement. The range includes insulated pallet boxes, thermal pallet covers, insulated roll cage covers and breathable air cargo covers.
- CooliMate® Insulated Pallet Boxes – High performance, bulk supply chain solutions for shipping temperature sensitive products. With just two lengths of thermal insulated, our Coolimate® pallet boxes are quick to assemble and can reduce your packaging times.
- CooliMate® Insulated Pallet Cover – CooliMate® Insulated Thermal Pallet Covers achieve the same great performance as other CooliMate® products and can be reused in a closed loop system, which makes them ideal for retail store replenishment.
- Breathable Air Cargo Cover – Our Breathable Air Cargo Covers are used by distributors, 3PLs and airlines worldwide to ship perishable goods safely. Non-woven breathable membrane reduces the risk of condensation damage by assisting in the diffusion of moisture and harmful gases. It protects from exposure to dirt, rain and snow. Various sizes are available for UK, USA and EU cargo pallets.
Common questions about temperature controlled packaging
Below we have listed some popular questions people have around chilled packaging. If you have any more queries that are not listed, our team of experts will be happy to help you.
Is chilled packaging recyclable?
Whether or not your chilled packaging is recyclable will depend on the pack.
If there is an outer box, the cardboard box will be recyclable at the kerbside. The liner used to insulate the pack may be made from several materials.
These could include paper padding, metallic bubble, polystyrene, sheep’s wool and recycled fibre materials. Whether these can be recycled will depend on the local authority in your area.
Checking out websites like RecycleNow can also be useful in identifying whether packaging materials can be recycled.
Similarly, you should check locally if any coolants can be recycled. For example, once the ice sheets have melted, you can get rid of the water and recycle (if available in your area).
How long will the packaging maintain temperature?
Each type of chilled packaging will maintain temperature for various lengths of time.; We have highlighted some of our popular products below. Please consider these as a guide when using the appropriate coolant.
- RecycoolMe can maintain temperatures of -2°C or between 2°C – 8°C for up to 48 hours.
- CooliMate® will keep products below -2°C or between 2°C – 8°C for up to 48 hours.
- Insulated Pallet Boxes will keep products between 2°C – 8°C for 48 hours.
- Our Thermal Insulated Pallet Covers and Thermal Insulated Roll Cage Covers maintain a constant low temperature, keeping the internal temperature below 25°C despite high external surface temperatures.
Which chilled packaging solution is right for your business?
The thermal packaging solution you need will depend on the following:
- The product you’re shipping (e.g. perishability, weight, fragility, size)
- The temperature that needs to be maintained in the pack (ambient, chilled, frozen)
- The shipping journey (How you will be shipping the product – by air or courier networks etc.)
You should also consider if there are any legal requirements for the particular product you’re shipping, such as food or pharmaceuticals. This may differ depending on where you’re shipping to and from, especially if you’re shipping internationally.
As this can be a complex decision, our experts are here to help you. If you need help choosing the right temperature controlled packaging product that is best for your business or want to learn more, please contact us today!