How to pack temperature sensitive food for courier or postal networks

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Covid changed the way that we purchased our food throughout 2020 in the UK. Many of us turned to supermarkets for home deliveries, ordered food care packages for elderly relatives, foodie treats to comfort ourselves or recipe boxes to break the monotony and inspire culinary adventure.

Food retailers were forced to find new routes to market – independent stores switched to offering local food deliveries or instore collection, with many taking the plunge to open online stores offering nationwide delivery.

If you are considering selling your culinary delights online and sending them through a courier or postal network, you need to consider the length of the journey and the impact it will have on your produce.

If your goods are perishable, maintaining consistent temperatures in transit may be problematic. They will probably encounter more than one distribution warehouse and move between multiple vehicles before reaching their destination. If your product is temperature sensitive, you can stabilise their journey by using thermal insulated packaging.

Temperature controlled packaging will ensure that your required temperatures are maintained for up to 48 hours if goods are packed correctly. Thermal packaging will help you achieve either ambient, warm or cold temperatures.

Temperature controlled packaging

Preparing your products for their journey

When shipping temperature sensitive product, it is important to have a controlled packing process to make sure your goods reach the customer within the desired temperature range.

Have your packaging primed ready to fill – boxes should be pre-assembled and lined ready to fill, with coolant and tape at hand. This minimises the amount of time products sit outside of refrigeration waiting to be packed.

Your chilled products should not sit outside of cold storage for longer than 20 – 30 minutes before being packed. If the temperature of your products reduces significantly, there is a risk that it will warm the coolant temperature, which will reduce the viable transit time.

Low temperatures can be better maintained if all gaps between your products are filled with a void fill material. Place your coolant at the top of the pack, this allows the cool air to flow down onto the goods.

As a rule of thumb, the following coolant should be used:

For goods to arrive ambient – ice sheets that have been conditioned to 20°C will help prevent the temperature from rising or falling quickly

For goods to arrive chilled – use ice sheets or gel packs

For goods to arrive soft frozen – use gel packs or duration ice sheets

For goods to arrive frozen – dry ice should be used

In order to extend the length of time your goods are at their desired temperature, parcels ready for dispatch should be stored in a refrigerated/freezer environment until the delivery vehicle is ready to load.


If you would like to find out more about temperature controlled packaging for your perishable produce, our team of experts are on-hand to help. View our range of temperature controlled packaging  and contact us today.

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