How to Ship Ice Cream Internationally by Courier or Mail?

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Video How to transport ice cream

As summer draws to a close, many are looking for ways to enjoy their favourite frozen treats at home. But is it possible to ship ice cream locally or internationally? And how do businesses transport ice cream to customers or stores? Transporting ice cream, sorbet and gelato requires careful packaging and planning to avoid it arriving as a melted, sticky mess.

You can ship ice cream abroad or overseas, or even locally – under the right conditions, and businesses all around the world manage to do this in order to supply supermarkets, gelaterias and ice cream parlours.

But shipping ice cream locally, let alone internationally can be a logistical nightmare, especially if you just want to send a few pints of gelato home from Italy.

The first, and the most obvious reason being, it needs to stay frozen throughout its entire journey. Even a slight temperature change can affect the taste and texture of ice cream. If it melts during transit and is refrozen later on, it increases the risk of becoming icy and grainy and losing its flavour.

shipping ice cream

So, how do businesses transport ice cream to customers?

Businesses who distribute ice cream to stores are able to avoid issues when sending ice cream in bulk to local and international destinations by using refrigerated, temperature-controlled transport. Packing and shipping ice cream in bulk internationally, also provides more protection against temperature, as tightly packed boxes of ice cream arranged correctly onto pallets under the right conditions will melt slower and keep each other cold. This type of specialist transport might serve as a cost-effective solution for businesses who ship ice cream all the time, but it’s not a realistic and affordable option for private shippers who want to mail an ice cream cake to a loved one nearby, or send ice cream home internationally.

Eurosender has helped thousands of businesses increase efficiency, save time and money by providing expert solutions for businesses. Discover how we can help you organise refrigerated transportation!

How do people mail ice cream?

There are a few different ways individuals’ package and ship ice cream locally and internationally to maintain its freshness and minimise the risk of spoiling throughout its journey:

Packing ice cream with dry ice

Packing and shipping ice cream with dry ice is a good, lighter-weight alternative to using regular ice to keep your sorbet or gelato frozen during transit. Using regular ice to transport ice cream can dampen your shipment, and others as it melts, and is not recommended by couriers.

Proper care should be taken when deciding to pack ice cream with dry ice, and you will need to use gloves and goggles for handling to avoid burns. It is extremely important not to make your package of ice cream airtight, as dry ice needs to vent and can explode without proper ventilation. Packing ice cream in dry ice for transport poses a few risks and restrictions and regulations apply when shipping by air, so do check this carefully before deciding to ship ice cream internationally.

When deciding how much dry ice you will need for your package, be sure to take into consideration the transit time and an additional 24 hours, in case of delays.

Gel packs for shipping ice cream locally

Gel packs are also commonly used for packing and shipping ice cream locally, but it is important to remember that these are only intended to keep food between 0-15 degrees, not ideal for keeping ice cream frozen. When using gel packs, you should choose the shortest transit time possible, as a drastic change in temperature will affect the flavour of your ice cream.

Insulated boxes for shipping ice cream

Insulated polystyrene boxes are the best option for packing your ice cream, either with gel packs or dry ice, as it will help to keep your ice cream well insulated and stay frozen for as long as possible. Some insulated foam shipping boxes with thick 20mm walls can keep ice cream cold for up to 48 hours. You can find these at most post offices, stationery and storage supply stores.

If you don’t have an insulated box already, you will need to insulate your cardboard box well. Choose a thick corrugated cardboard box, and use sheets of foam to line the inside.

For more tips on packaging, see our dedicated page.

If you are planning to mail ice cream, it is important to keep in mind that as an individual you choose to do so at your own risk and responsibility, and insurance will not apply when shipping ice cream locally or internationally with the majority of courier companies.

What to consider when shipping ice cream locally or internationally?

  • How long will the journey take? Even a well-packed local shipment of ice cream in dry ice won’t last longer than around 30 hours before the quality is compromised.
  • Make sure somebody will be home for the delivery. The last thing you want when mailing an ice cream cake to a friend is to find a melted, sticky mess on their porch. Be sure to provide a local telephone number of the recipient, in case the courier decides to call.
  • Different flavours will melt at different speeds. Depending on what has been added, varieties such as cookie dough or with marshmallows will last slightly longer, but will react differently to dry ice or blast freezing before shipping. Shipping gelato from Italy will be different to shipping Ben and Jerry’s cookies and cream ice cream, for example. Bear this in mind when packing ice cream with dry ice or gel packs.

Can Eurosender offer refrigerated transport to businesses for shipping ice cream locally or internationally?

Find out what Eurosender services are best suited for shipping ice cream internationally. Our logistics experts will be happy to discuss your shipping requirements and see the available options to provide you with a tailored solution.

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