How to Ship Ice Cream | Ice Cream Shipping Guide | IPC

Video How to transport ice cream

1. Use effective insulated packaging to protect ice cream shipments against ambient heat

The first consideration when planning how to deliver ice cream to your customers is packaging. Packaging for ice cream should be thermally insulated, as well as equipped with sufficient refrigerants to continuously maintain product temperature of 0°C (32°F) or colder. Insulated shipping boxes are needed as they limit the exchange of heat between the environment and the inside of the package, thus delaying the time in which the temperature inside the package reaches equilibrium with the ambient temperature.

Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) shipping coolers have proven popular in the past as they are thermally insulating, relatively lightweight, and cheap. EPS coolers have considerable disadvantages, however, including mediocre thermal performance, high storage volume, and non- biodegradability, make its use economically unjustifiable.

Alternatively, IPC can provide alternative insulating solutions to EPS coolers with no tooling cost while providing 75% savings in shipping space and significant reduction (up to 33%) in required dry ice required for ice cream shipment.

2. Use dry ice to keep the ice cream frozen

Dry ice has long been a favored solution for shipping frozen foods, including ice cream. It is significantly lighter than regular ice, thus reducing shipping costs while eliminating concerns that melting ice could dampen product packaging. Be sure to include enough dry ice to cover the estimated in-transit period, as well as an additional 24 hours to guard against any delays in transit.

When handling dry ice, it is crucial to follow proper safety precautions, including personal protective equipment and allowing for venting, as well as special precautions for air freight, if applicable. Gloves and goggles are required for touching dry ice to prevent against burns. Place the dry ice and ice cream within a suitable polystyrene container and place it inside a corrugated cardboard box. Dry ice releases carbon dioxide, so it is important that the box is not sealed. By allowing the vapor to vent, the risk of explosion is negated.

3. Consider using gel packs for additional protection

Gel packs are more commonly used to keep food in the 0°C (32°F) to 15°C (60°F) range rather than for shipping frozen food products. For shipping ice cream, however, gel packs are used as a backup refrigerant. Since the gel packs lasts longer than dry ice, they can help prolong the life of dry ice, and serve as a refrigeration source after the dry ice dissipates.

4. Protect your shipment by limiting the transportation duration

Minimizing the duration of transportation will help reduce dry ice requirements and the risk of unsaleable product. The use of expedited delivery services will help ensure timely delivery. When shipping frozen foods products, that’s a great way of safeguarding quality and reducing the risk of refrigerant not lasting as long as required for delivery. Also, be mindful of any delays in the delivery cycle such as weekends or holidays that could result in ice cream shipments delayed in transit needlessly.

5. Always monitor your shipments to ensure they arrive on time

Product tracking is essential to determine your success in on-time deliveries, which equates directly to customer satisfaction, and increasing the certainty that ice cream arrives in great condition. Ensure that your carrier offers a sophisticated tracking service. As newer tracking technologies become affordable and widespread, there are even more exciting opportunities to monitor not only delivery, but also container conditions such as temperature and shock.

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