How to Ship Chocolates: Packaging Guide for E-Commerce Confectionaries

The Short of It

If you’re in the business of premium chocolate, whether you know it or not, you’re also in the business of thermal logistics. Getting your product to your customers’ homes in perfect condition requires a precise combination of insulation and coolant to prevent blooming, which occurs when chocolate gets too hot or too cold.

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Read the full article below, or simply contact us.

Diving In

The US chocolate industry is expected to surpass $20 billion by 2025, with more and more companies entering the landscape. But as chocolatiers strive to grow, they’re realizing that success isn’t only based on creating the best product. It’s also about offering that product to their consumers where they want to buy it, which is increasingly online.

To build a strong e-commerce business for chocolates and confections, you need packaging that will stand up to the rigors of the supply chain and provide an at-home unboxing experience worthy of your premium brand.

Blooming is the enemy

Most chocolate wants to be 60-70°F. To delight your customers, you want your shipment to maintain that temperature range throughout its journey. When shipments get too hot or too cold, blooming happens.

Blooming is a term for the white, splotchy spotting appearing on chocolate that has been subject to improper fluctuations in temperature and moisture. With blooming, both visual appeal and texture can deteriorate.

There are two types of blooming: fat bloom and sugar bloom.

Fat Bloom

Fat bloom happens when the chocolate has melted and re-hardened due to temperature increases, which is typically beyond 80 to 90 degrees F, depending on the type of chocolate.

Sugar Bloom

Sugar bloom occurs when the chocolate is exposed to moisture, which can develop when the temperature drops too quickly to refrigerated temperatures.

Both types of blooming can spell doom for an overnight or two-day shipment, but they can be prevented. Here’s how:

Get the Insulation Right

The purpose of insulation is to slow down the transfer of energy from one space to another. Your choice of package insulation will have an impact on transit time, the amount of coolant you’ll need, and the size of box required.

Insulation will likely be your biggest packaging expense in your pack-out. There are many types of insulation materials available: expanded polystyrene foam, often known as Styrofoam®; cotton fiber liners; starch-based foam; bubble wrap; and recycled paper liners.

Here at TemperPack, we think our ClimaCell liners offer the best insulation on the market, especially for premium shipments. Our liners offer high levels of thermal performance and a sturdy structure for ease of use in your fulfillment facility.

Our insulation also uses kraft paper encapsulation, which creates an inviting unboxing experience for your customers at home. Paper signals quality, and people at home know it’s a more sustainable material than plastic. And ClimaCell liners are easily recyclable, so you’re not placing a burden on them to figure out what to do with the packaging you send them.

Be Smart About Coolant

In warmer climates or summer months, coolants can absorb the excess energy that is transferred from outside the box. In colder situations, coolants can expel that excess energy to maintain the optimal temperature for chocolate.

Coolant materials typically rely on their phase change to maintain a desired temperature. For example, water-based ice packs are a very effective material when trying to maintain temperatures close to 32 degrees F, the freezing point of water. However, water-based coolants are less effective when keeping temperatures that are much higher or lower than 32 degrees. PCMs, or phase change materials, are another possible high-performance option that can maintain temperature over a wider range of temperatures for longer durations.

Be Real about Your Primary Packaging

Primary packaging, which refers to the packaging materials used to directly contain your product, needs to match your brand experience, regardless of where it’s sold. When packaging chocolate for e-commerce purposes, it’s important to ensure that the primary packaging is sturdy enough to stand up to a shipment through trucks and warehouses. Sometimes the primary packaging you may use for retail might not be sturdy enough for the rigors of FedEx and UPS.

It’s also important to recognize that condensation is likely going to happen at some point in the shipment. If your primary packaging is built for presentation more than function, you might want to consider some kind of wrap in addition to the insulation to protect it.

Factor in Seasonality

As the seasons change, the amount of coolant and thickness of insulation can and should change as well.

It’s not just about melting: cold temperatures can have just as much of a negative impact on your chocolate as warm temperatures.

By staying in touch with conditions throughout your logistics chain, you can adjust your packaging accordingly to maintain quality. The right choices on your end will lead to a delicious experience for your customers.

Let's talk

Every company has its own unique specifications, based on their geographic footprint and preferred shipping criteria. Reach out or check out our lab page to learn more.

TemperPack appoints Shawn Meredith as Chief Financial Officer

TemperPack, the largest producer of sustainable cold chain materials for e-commerce foods and life sciences products in the U.S., today announced the appointment of Shawn Meredith as Chief Financial Officer.

Shawn is a highly accomplished executive with over 20 years of financial leadership experience, including 10 years as CFO in businesses spanning from early stage to large publicly traded entities. Most recently, she served as Vice President and CFO of White Cap, a leading North American distributor of concrete accessories and specialty construction products with revenue of $4 billion.

Prior to joining White Cap, Shawn served as Chief Financial Officer for Innovative Therapies, leading the company through their acquisition by Cardinal Health. Subsequent to that, Shawn was SVP and Chief Financial Officer for the Watsco, Inc. subsidiary, Gemaire Distributors. Shawn currently serves on the advisory board of the CFO Forum in Atlanta. In 2020, Shawn received the CFO Forum’s annual Preeminence Award, which recognizes Atlanta’s most outstanding CFO for the year.

At TemperPack, Shawn will lead the company’s finance organization, which includes corporate finance, treasury, accounting, tax, internal audit and risk management. She joins the company’s newly-appointed Executive Leadership Team, which includes:

  • Bob Beckler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Brian Powers, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer
  • James McGoff, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer
  • Charles Vincent, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer
  • Shawn Meredith, Chief Financial Officer
  • David Hensley, Chief Operating Officer
  • Ann Marie Wilson, Senior Vice President, Sales
  • Walker Dales, Vice President, Finance

" We are thrilled to have Shawn joining our fast-growing organization, bringing her wealth of experience to TemperPack. She is an exceptional leader with tremendous depth in building strong financial processes and teams, and is extremely well-positioned to support our continued growth. "

— Bob Beckler, Chief Executive Officer

On joining the team

"I look forward to working with the TemperPack team to build on its already impressive accomplishments in the specialty protective and thermal materials space. The growth, culture and mission are compelling, along with the unique opportunity to partner with industry leaders such as HelloFresh, Daily Harvest, and Amazon Pharmacy. The co-founders developed and commercialized market-leading solutions that make a positive impact on our environment every day. I am excited to join the business at this juncture to support the rapid growth and value-creation."

— Shawn Meredith, Chief Financial Officer

About TemperPack

TemperPack® makes packaging that works for businesses, people, and the planet. With over 300 employees across Richmond, Virginia and Las Vegas, Nevada, TemperPack is the largest producer of sustainable cold chain materials for e-commerce foods and life sciences products in the U.S.

TemperPack has raised over $100 million of capital to bring to market its plant-based, recyclable ClimaCell insulation material. For more information, please visit:

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Our first ISO-Compliant Life Cycle Assessment

It's always been important to us to understand the impact of our packaging on the environment.

In our earlier years as a company, we made a good faith effort to estimate the impact of our ClimaCell thermal liners. We dove into data from utility companies, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, and available 3rd party databases such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Our calculations in Excel were rigorous, but we knew we didn’t have the tools or expertise needed to produce an official ISO-compliant cradle-to-grave Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

This year, that changed. TemperPack both obtained a SimaPro license and hired a sustainability analyst to build the single product LCA model and author the report. We also enlisted Long Trail Sustainability to conduct a concurrent critical review of both our model and report, in accordance with the 14040 and 14044 ISO standards (2006 a, b).

Why make this investment?

Well, according to co-founder and Chief Product Officer James McGoff, it was an easy decision. “Our company believes in doing the right thing, the right way, every time. One key step on that path is recognizing that data is king. Without it, it’s challenging (we’d go as far to say impossible) to assure continuous product improvement. We’ve long recognized the need to quantify the impacts of ClimaCell, and this year the time was right to take the next step to an ISO compliant model.”

Below is a figure from the full report, demonstrating which processes within a ClimaCell Unit’s life cycle are included in the study:

The system boundary of this study reflects a cradle-to-grave study, encompassing upstream, core, and downstream processes.

Some of the findings?

Our Processes

Our upstream processes, which include raw material inputs and the distribution of those materials to TemperPack, account for almost 50% of the total GHG emissions associated with producing a single ClimaCell Unit. Meanwhile, the downstream processes, which include the distribution of a ClimaCell Unit to its customers and the unit’s disposal, account for about 6% of the total CO2e produced. Here is a more detailed breakdown:

  • Upstream Processes (raw material acquisition) – 47%
  • Core Processes (manufacturing) – 20%
  • Intermediate Flow (materials used to distribute our packaging - gaylords, plastic wrap) - 27%
  • Downstream Processes (distribution and disposal) - 6%

Our Materials

When assessing a single ClimaCell insulation liner, results also show that our corn starch-based packing peanuts generate the greatest environmental impact across all the mentioned impact categories.

Our Energy

Of all the environmental impact categories assessed (Climate Change, Human Health, Ecosystems, Resources, Cumulative Energy Demand, and Water Use), Cumulative Energy Demand accounts for approximately 56% of the total environmental impacts of a single ClimaCell unit.

This report is just one step in our journey of environmental stewardship. This model gives us a better grasp of the environmental hot spots of a ClimaCell liner across its lifespan. It also gives our customers better information and more confidence about our packaging. More importantly, it provides benchmarks and insights we can use to optimize ClimaCell and develop new products.

The TemperPack team is committed to smarter packaging for a sustainable future. This study is just one step of many on that journey.

If you have questions about our LCA, please reach out and we'd be happy to discuss it.


TemperPack Appoints Bob Beckler as Chief Executive Officer

TemperPack, the largest producer of sustainable cold chain materials for e-commerce foods and life sciences products in the U.S., today announced the appointment of Bob Beckler as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Beckler, who has served as Executive Chairman of TemperPack since 2017, will be expanding his role as the company accelerates its growth and profitability strategy.

"What an honor it is to be able to join forces with the talented team at TemperPack. It has been so gratifying to see this company emerge as the leader in environmentally beneficial materials for cold chain packaging, and I am excited to help pursue its expansive growth plans. I want to thank the founders James McGoff, Charles Vincent and Brian Powers who continue to drive TemperPack on a remarkable trajectory. I look forward to continue partnering with Brian Powers in his new role as Chief Growth Officer as he leads our commercial and growth initiatives."

— Bob Beckler, Chief Executive Officer

“TemperPack is on a mission to replace plastic with sustainable materials. Bob’s experience, history with TemperPack, and passion for serving customers and the planet, make him the ideal leader for our next phase of growth. I look forward to continue working closely with Bob to keep TemperPack growing rapidly,” said Brian Powers, co-founder and Chief Growth Officer.

Started in 2015, TemperPack has grown sales an average of 65% year over year for the last three years to more than $100mm in annual run rate sales, and continues to grow rapidly. TemperPack serves the market leaders in e-commerce food and life sciences in the U.S. and increasingly on an international basis.

Mr. Beckler has over 30 years of public and private company leadership experience in specialty chemicals, materials, and packaging. Prior to TemperPack, he served as President, Packaging of WestRock (NYSE: WRK) and its predecessor, MeadWestvaco. Mr. Beckler is a member of the Board of Directors of Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS), has served on the boards of private companies in specialty packaging and chemicals, and also serves on the boards of several community and academic institutions.

About TemperPack

TemperPack® makes packaging that works for businesses, people, and the planet. With over 300 employees across Richmond, Virginia and Las Vegas, Nevada, TemperPack is the largest producer of sustainable cold chain materials for e-commerce foods and life sciences products in the U.S.

TemperPack has raised over $100 million of capital to bring to market its plant-based, recyclable ClimaCell insulation material. For more information, please visit:

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2020 Impact Report

2020 impacted all of us.

While the pandemic was the most important story of the past year, we will also remember 2020 as a year of unprecedented growth at TemperPack. As the world ground to a halt, we got to work, designing new products, manufacturing more SKUs than we've ever produced, and servicing the needs of our clients as they worked tirelessly to safely send food and medicine to people in their homes. We are grateful for all of our amazing partners. Below is a snapshot of the impact we made together last year.

2020 - Environment

With great less power, comes great responsibility.

With great less power, comes great responsibility.

We develop products to compete with traditional plastic insulation like expanded polystyrene. We design products with the goal to outperform those materials, but also to use less energy to produce and transport, and to be easily recycled instead of landfilled. This adds up to a better product, both for consumers and the Earth.


Pounds of CO2
emissions avoided in 2020.

By choosing ClimaCell instead of EPS, our customers avoided the release of over 58 million pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions into the atmosphere.


Olympic swimming pools worth of plastic diverted from landfills in 2020.

By choosing ClimaCell instead of EPS, our customers replaced 97 Olympic swimming pools worth of unrecyclable plastic with material that could be easily recycled.

That all sounds great, but what does 58,753,193 lbs of CO2 actually represent?



taken off the road for an entire year.



planted and grown for 10 years.


Cell phones

charged for an entire year.


Light bulbs

changed from incandescent to LED.

Water Reduction

compared to similar
performing EPS products.

Water Reduction

Manufacturing is a resource-dependent activity.
Water we doing about it?

Our ClimaCell products reduce water consumption on a unit of output basis by 38% compared to EPS.

2020 - Social

Taking some initiative.

Despite the pandemic, in 2020 we’ve increased the number of environmental and social initiatives at TemperPack to be a more inclusive company and better steward of our own environment. These efforts represent our leadership’s dedication to creating a world that’s better for those living in it.

Expanding Partnerships

Building expertise in environmental issues, especially recycling, is essential to our success. That means working with great partners who lead the industry. This year, TemperPack joined both SWANA and ISRI. We’re participating in ISRI’s working group to draft a new Protocol for the Recycling of Paper Packaging. We also continue to work with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Closed Loop Partners. We have also engaged with independent paper mills and MRFs to introduce them to ClimaCell.

Virginia Capital Trail Sponsorship

We’ve sponsored mile 16-15 headed East, near the Sherwood Forest Plantation on the Virginia Capital Trail as another way to give back on behalf of the Pack. Our team has made efforts to remove trash along that mile five times in the past year.

Eliminating Waste

We’ve launched Sustainability Education trainings for employees that includes partnering with NOPE and installing TerraCycle Zero Waste Boxes to reduce waste from our facilities.

Partnering with FeedMore

TemperPack became a member of Feed America and Meals on Wheels America — to collect, prepare, and distribute food to individuals in need. In Fall 2020, we volunteered 112 hours to support a program serving 20,000 meals each week.

Stepping Up for Diversity

In October, the TemperPack Women’s Network established the Leadership And Development In Executing Success (L.A.D.I.E.S.) initiative to support and empower women at TemperPack through community outreach, webinars, and workshops. The group is inclusive of people of all gender identities.

TemperPack has also launched a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force to address current culture in the workplace, increase accountability, and identify new goals for corporate diversity.


Thank you for reading this update. We’re on a journey to be the best packaging company in the world. We want to create the highest performing, most environmentally friendly products, in a place where people like to work, can be themselves, and do the best work of their careers. We’re not there yet. While we work to get there, we want to hold ourselves to high standards and be as transparent as we can be.

Shoot for the moon and land there.

Thermal Testing Standards for Cold Chain Shipments: A Primer

For the vast majority of life-saving drugs, therapies, and vaccines, efficacy is inextricably tied to temperature stability.

The most common acceptable temperature range for cold chain pharmaceuticals is between 2°C and 8°C. Ensuring temperature stability across thousands of shipments as they move throughout dozens of distribution points requires precise, reliable testing.

The following is a look into how that testing is performed.

Thermal Shipping Regulation: Who’s Who

Effective transport of temperature sensitive products through the small parcel distribution network depends on guidance provided by multiple industry organizations.

The primary organization that provides guidance on the proper qualification of Insulated Shipping Containers (ISC) used for the distribution of temperature sensitive products is the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA).

The International Safe Transit Association, is an industry organization that provides standardized testing methods to members and provides lab certifications for both physical and thermal testing of packaged products.

The American Society for Testing Materials, is another organization with test standards that are used in the lSTA. While we focus more on ITSA in this article, ASTM covers a wide range of test standards and its test methods can be used for shipments destined for either domestic or international transit.

The Food and Drug Administration is the governing body that sets regulations for the proper certification of ISCs for drug manufacturers and distributors.

The Utilization Review Accreditation Commission, described as a “nonprofit accreditation entity”, oversees the validation process and requirements of ISCs used by specialty pharmacies in its 4.0 recommendations.


ISC is a packaging system as shipped. It typically includes an outer box, thermal insulation, coolant of some kind, and a temperature sensitive payload.

The Guidebook for Thermal Testing:
ISTA Standard 20

Due to a lack of standardization in the verification process of ISCs, ISTA established the ISTA Standard 20 (STD-0020), a testing process that outlines the process of design, testing, and verification of an ISC.

Proper execution of the Standard 20 process will certify that an ISC performs to the specified user requirements in a manner that meets FDA regulations. The Standard 20 process relies on three stages of testing to fully qualify an ISC.


The initial stage is the Design Qualification (DQ), which is done either through environmental chamber testing or thermal simulation and only requires a sample size of one.


After an ISC passes DQ, the Operational Qualification (OQ) is completed. OQ testing requires a minimum sample size of three and requires thermal chamber data as well as distribution testing.


Following the completion of the OQ testing, the ISC is subjected to a Performance Qualification (PQ). The PQ is performed through real world shipments and requires a sample size of three shipments in the most extreme temperatures the intended season.

Standard 20 outlines the proper data collection process for each qualification step, as well as what to include in the final documentation for a fully qualified ISC.

Recreating Real Life in a Thermal Chamber: ISTA 7E

Along with extensive guidance and requirements for the testing process, data collection, and documentation, Standard 20 also references the ISTA 7E thermal profiles for use in chamber testing. The ISTA 7E thermal profiles were developed through industry input to provide standardized methodology for the comparison of ISCs.

They include a standardized summer and winter profile that were built using an aggregation of data collected through an extensive study of shipping lanes spanning the United States. Each 7E profile contains up to 72 hours of data, which is repeatable for up to a total duration of 144 hours.

7E vs 7D

While the seasonal 7E profiles can be used to demonstrate performance for general domestic shipments, it may not reach the temperature extremes observed across specific regions. This is the reasoning for the PQ step in the Standard 20 process, but for many users a custom profile built using specific lane data may be more representative during chamber testing. Some end users address this discrepancy in temperature extremes by requiring ISTA 7D as the baseline for initial testing, with the intention of validating later down the road using real temperature data collected across specific temperature lanes to perform an OQ and following it up with a PQ.

A simple examination of 7E vs 7D will show the contrast between the two profiles. ISTA 7D was developed prior to 7E. It contains immediate temperature changes in the profile followed by hold/soak steps at a constant temperature, similar to what would be experienced when going from inside a warehouse to outside and vice versa. ISTA 7E was developed using an intensive data collection process, and generally represents the gradual temperature changes that can be experienced throughout the day.

Shake it Won’t Break It: ISTA 3A

The ISTA Standard 20 process also requires the ISTA 3A test, which is described as a “general simulation test for individual packaged-products shipped through a parcel delivery system”. The ISTA 3A involves a series of drops, dynamic compression sequences, and a loose load vibration portion that are meant to replicate the different forces that can be experienced by an ISC or other single shipment when sent through a service like UPS or FedEx.

Specialty Pharmacy:

When drug manufacturers and distributors make a submission to the FDA, both OQ and PQ documentation for an ISC are required to receive approval. However, specialty pharmacies that are subjected to URAC 4.0 requirements are only required to submit PQ data.

While not required by URAC, DQ and OQ testing is recommended to reduce the risk of failure during the PQ phase of the package development process.

Here to Help

When food or medicine requires temperature control distribution, the design and qualification of insulated shipping containers is an essential of new product development.

Through the ISTA Certified Thermal Lab at TemperPack, our team of engineers is able to carry out a standard or modified version of the ISTA Standard 20 process.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Upstream Innovation Guide Features ClimaCell®

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has published its Upstream Innovation Guide. We’re thrilled that ClimaCell is included as a solution to replace plastic foam as a way to protect fresh food and other perishable shipments.

The circular economy is about changing the way we design and make products and packaging, so we can move from managing waste, to preventing it – benefiting businesses, their customers and the environment.

Plant-based insulation for perishable shipments, with comparable temperature control performance to expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), as well as being made from a renewable material and fully compatible with paper recycling streams.

Businesses around the world are starting to do this, but it is time to move at even greater speed and scale. We’re honored that ClimaCell was selected for the Upstream Innovation Guide, alongside incredible innovations from around the world. The guide is a valuable resource that includes new technologies and practical improvements companies are making to bring about a better future.

We’re honored that ClimaCell was chosen, alongside incredible innovations from around the world. The guide is a valuable resource that includes new technologies and practical improvements companies are making to bring about a better future.

A link to the guide can be found here.

About TemperPack

TemperPack® makes packaging that works for businesses, people, and the planet. The company was borne out of a desire to reduce the amount of unsustainable packaging caused by the rise of e-commerce and perishable delivery. Incorporating environmental responsibility into product design, the company specializes in bringing the highest quality packaging solutions to scale. Operating an ISTA® certified Thermal Transport Lab and state-of-the-art production facilities in Richmond, VA and Las Vegas, NV, TemperPack is rapidly expanding its reach in the perishable food and life sciences industries with recyclable and compostable packaging solutions. Our mission is simple: protect products with packaging that protects the planet.

About the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a UK-based charity, committed to the creation of a circular economy that tackles some of the biggest challenges of our time, such waste, pollution and climate change. In a circular economy nothing becomes waste and everything has value, creating benefits for society, the environment and theeconomy.

The Foundation collaborates with its Strategic Partners (BlackRock, Danone, DS Smith, Google, H&M Group, Intesa Sanpaolo, IKEA, Philips, Renault, SC Johnson, Solvay, Unilever, The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fund for Strategic Innovation, SUN, MAVA, players of People’s Postcode Lottery (GB)) and its wider network of businesses; governments, institutions, and cities; universities; and emerging innovators, to drive collaboration, explore opportunities, and to develop circular business initiatives.

The current ‘take, make, waste’ extractive industrial model relies on the consumption of finite resources. The circular economy offers a positive way forward by redefining growth to focus on society-wide benefits. It entails redesigning material flows and production systems to build economic, natural and social capital. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular economy is built on three principles: design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; and regenerate natural capital.

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Understanding Safe Temperature Ranges for Temperature-Controlled Shipments

From insulin treatments to meal kits, more temperature-sensitive shipments than ever are being shipped across the country to your door.

If those shipments get too hot (or too cold), they will lose potency or spoil and need to be discarded. These shipments require packaging materials designed to keep those items within their safe temperature range.

Understanding the safe temperature range for a product allows packaging engineers to design a custom pack-out with the right amount and arrangement of coolant and insulation to protect it.

Read on to learn more about the most common safe temperature ranges across life sciences and food.


A common shipping temperature range is 2-8°C or 35.6-46.4°F.

Numerous vaccines and biologics are shipped in this range to extend shelf life and prevent damage to the active ingredients. Often these treatments include proteins, and refrigeration keeps them “alive.”

2-8°C is the most difficult shipping profile to maintain. Getting too cold or too hot will cause the treatments to lose potency. Freezing can cause proteins to break apart, and excess heat will harm them as well.

Some common medical treatments that require refrigeration are insulin, vaccines, Humira®, and some diagnostic tests.


The second most common temperature range for medicine is called “controlled room temperature” (CRT). 33% of all medicine shipped in the US and EU falls within this range.

Inside of the CRT, there are many different ranges of temperature control. However, most of them fall between 2°C (35.6°F) and 40°C (104°F).

When the life science industry is qualifying shipping solutions, the mean kinetic temperature (MKT) of the product is commonly used as part of the acceptance criteria. The MKT allows for temperature excursions while still maintaining drug efficacy.

Often treatments in this range take the form of solid pills, such as vitamins and acetaminophen. While these pills are stable across a broad temperature range, they aren’t impervious to harm from heat and cold. Freezing the pills or overheating them can cause them to explode (especially gels), melt, or lose potency.


While many protein-based treatments cannot be frozen, many cellular treatments require frozen or even deep-frozen conditions in order to stabilize the formulation. When a treatment is frozen or deep frozen, it will be thawed and given to a patient within a very specific window of time when the treatment is activated.

Frozen is the broadest temperature range within cold chain shipments. Here are more details about the different classes of frozen treatments:

Depending on the product, less than or equal to -20°C (-4°F) is relatively common and includes API, or Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient, the starter material for many biologic formulations.

There are also certain life science products that require deep frozen temperatures, such as less than or equal to -85°C (-121°F). For example, plasma is one such product.

Finally, the coldest temperature range is less than or equal to -135°C (-211°F). This is known as a cryogenic and is typically used for cellular or gene therapies. The extremely cold temperatures will suspend activity in the cells to maintain integrity.


Even though the food industry is not as regulated as much as the life science industry, the laws of thermodynamics still apply. Proteins can be spoiled by too much heat (and so can produce), and in some cases it’s possible to freeze items that aren’t meant to be frozen. Many of the same rules and temperature ranges from life sciences apply to food as well.

Most fresh meals and meal kit suppliers need to maintain a temperature less than or equal to 5°C (41°F). Interestingly, this temperature falls right in the middle of the most common life science range of 2-8°C. In addition to fresh produce, many types of proteins are also shipped with temperature control devices.

Below 0°C (32°F) is typical for frozen steaks, seafood, and plant-based proteins.

Desserts and specialty items can require different temperatures depending on the product.

Products like specialty cheesecakes can require temperatures below 0°C, while ice cream needs even colder temperature control by maintaining a temperature less than or equal to -17.8°C (0°F).

Keeping Shipments Safe at Any Temperature Range

Depending on the required temperature range and the duration of shipment, food and life science companies use either dry ice or gel packs as coolants, along with insulation. From a sustainability and business standpoint, the goal is to use enough coolant and insulation to ensure 100% protection of the shipment, but not use more coolant or packaging material than necessary. For a deeper look at the science of thermal shipment, check out this primer on cold chain shipments.


When it comes to maintaining specific temperatures during transit, it’s important to carefully consider your packaging options. At TemperPack, we manufacture and sell sustainable and cost-effective temperature-controlled packaging that will help ensure your shipments remain at their ideal temperatures. Contact us for more information.

Thermal Shipping: The Basics of Cold Chain Shipping

Think of all the items that require you to have a refrigerator and freezer in your home  i.e., meat products, dairy products. These are just a few of the many perishable foods we use everyday that are temperature sensitive.

For example, milk must stay in the refrigerator or else it will spoil. But have you ever thought about how milk remains at a safe temperature from the time it’s produced until you purchase it at the market? Temperature sensitive products require thermal shipping solutions and in this case what is called a “cold chain” to remain safe and/or viable for consumption or use.

Part 1

What is Cold Chain Shipping?

The term “cold chain” is a broad term used to describe a temperature-controlled supply chain. The cold chain requirements (i.e., acceptable temperature ranges) of one product may look completely different from those of another.

Managing cold chain logistics has always been complex, and those complexities are continuing to evolve with the growth of the eCommerce industry.

Traditionally, cold chain products have been moved in high volumes to a small number of destinations. Revisiting the milk example, the cold chain for moving thousands of gallons of milk from a dairy farm to a grocery store might look like this:

Load up a reefer truck

(a 53’ trailer specially designed to maintain refrigerated temperatures within)

Drive it to the store

Unload the milk into a refrigerated warehouse

(where it will get loaded into the display cases as needed.)

With the direct to consumer industry booming, consumers now have the option to buy their milk online, perhaps from a boutique dairy farm multiple states away. As you’d imagine, the cold chain for this model looks vastly different from the cold chain of the “traditional” milk model.

Instead of shipping thousands of gallons of milk each of a few grocery stores, this boutique farm might be shipping a single gallon of milk to thousands of different addresses around the country. While the cold chain requirements stay constant in both models (milk still has the same safe temperature ranges), managing the cold chain for the latter model is a very modern challenge that businesses of today are working on overcoming.

These B2C (business to consumer) cold chains require specialty packaging and other packaging components to ensure that product integrity remains intact during transit. We’ll spend the rest of this article digging into the factors, science, and examples of the cold chain shipping industry.

Part 2

Cold Chain Shipping Factors

Now that you’re aware that the world of cold chains exists, it’s important to know the basic factors you should consider when analyzing a cold chain and making decisions that might influence your product’s safety, integrity or the overall customer experience.

When cold chain shipping is boiled down to the basics, the following factors arise as the driving ones:

Acceptable temperature range

Above all else, the “safe” temperature range for the item(s) being shipped must be identified and considered when making cold chain decisions. This range may seem obvious for some products (i.e., – ice cream should remain below 0°F/-20°C), but for specialty products, such as pharmaceuticals or cosmetics, manufacturers make sure any temperature requirements are clearly listed on the product’s primary packaging.

Time in transit

Once you know the temperature that a product must maintain, you need to consider how long the cold chain packaging needs to do its job.

A local grocer offering free delivery/shipping might only need packaging that maintains the appropriate cold chain for a few hours, whereas a large meal kit company might need to maintain a similar cold chain for multiple days as the boxes are traveling hundreds of miles through a courier shipping network.

Ambient temperature

The last factor to consider is what external “forces” the shipment will face during transit. The packaging protecting a shipment occurring in Texas in August will often look different than the packaging protecting a similar shipment in New York in October.

Part 3

User Requirement Specification

All three of the above factors combine to form the foundation of what is referred to in the industry as a User Requirement Specification (URS). Selecting the appropriate “requirements” for your packaging is a balancing act between cost and risk level.

Let’s say it’s the holiday season and you’re shipping a cosmetic product between New York and several customers within the Northeastern US with a 1 day transit time. The cosmetics have been proven stable between 0°C and 20°C.

You have the ability to set your URS to the level of risk you want to take when shipping your product. In an extremely conservative case, you can say that you want the packaging to maintain a product temperature between 5°C and 15°C for 3 days, regardless of the outside temperature (warm or cold).

This URS would prevent any courier delays or any abnormal temperatures for the season from harming the shipment, but would also result in unnecessarily expensive packaging to accommodate the conservative requirements.

A more cost-effective URS might require the product temperature to stay between 0°C and 20°C for 2 days in Winter temperatures. This wider temperature range and shorter duration will result in less expensive packaging, but will still give you reasonable risk mitigation to account for unexpected delays during shipment.

Part 4

The Science of Thermal Shipping

The three factors discussed above all come into play when considering the science that drives the cold chain shipping industry—thermodynamics, a sub-discipline of physics that essentially governs how heat (energy) is transferred.

Thermodynamics is governed by four laws, the second of which is most important for our discussion

Sparing you the technical nuances, the important morsels to acknowledge are that:

Heat flows from hot to cold

Heat will continue to flow until
an equilibrium (balance) is reached

The 2nd Law states that heat moves. But how? Hundreds of years of thermodynamics studies have codified the transfer of heat into three modes:

  • Conduction – heat moves directly from one object to another via physical contact (i.e., melting butter in a pan on an electric cooktop)
  • Convection – heat passes from one object to another via a fluid (i.e, – the fan in an oven moves air which transfers the heat from the heating element to the food in the oven)
  • Radiation – heat is transferred by electromagnetic waves (i.e., – the sun heats the earth via electromagnetic waves that are transferred through space)

Because it’s the form of heat transfer most relevant to thermal insualtion, let’s take a deeper look at Conduction…

While this may seem like magic, scientists have distilled the transfer of heat via conduction down to this (simplified) equation:


  • Q = Amount of heat transferred
  • k = Thermal conductivity of the material transferring the heat. A highly conductive material will allow heat to flow through it very easily
    • Thermal conductivity is an intrinsic material property of the insulation used to line the box
    • FUN FACT: the inverse of thermal conductivity is thermal resistance (R-value!) and describes how good a material is at resisting the transfer of heat!
  • A = area over which the heat is transferring
    • The surface of the box in contact with the truck bed
  • ΔT = difference in temperature across the material transferring heat
    • 57 degrees (95 degrees – 38 degrees)
  • x = thickness of the material transferring heat
    • thickness of the insulation used to line the box

Part 5

More Cold Shipping Basics

Circling back to the basics, we know that heat is bad for your cold chain products, so you want to select packaging that will minimize the “Q” that is transferred from the ambient environment into the product being shipped.

Some of the variables in the heat transfer equation discussed above can be considered constants (or near constants) that you can’t tweak when managing your cold chain:

  • ΔT – it’d sure be nice if you could control the weather, but since summer temperatures are always going to be hot and milk always has to stay refrigerated, you can’t simply minimize this variable to 0 and call it a day. Although that’s exactly what is happening when large dairy farms are shipping high volumes of milk directly to a grocery store! With the “outside” temperature also at refrigerated temperatures, there is no ΔT so no heat is flowing – it’s already in equilibrium.
  • A – while you may have a little room to change your package’s size to reduce the area of the heat transfer as much as possible, you’re always going to be constrained by the size of the product you’re shipping so let’s consider this a constant as well.

That leaves you with two variables left for you to manipulate with your packaging decisions

  • x – insulation thickness can be increased to slow down the amount of heat transferred into the product, but increases to insulation thickness often result in larger boxes (the extra “stuff” has to go somewhere and the product you’re shipping has a static size, remember?) so it’s not often an attractive option.
  • k – this is where insulation makers make their money. Insulation with a low k-value (low conductivity), will not easily allow heat to conduct through it.

See? Cold chain shipping isn’t that bad. Once you identify your URS, you can apply those requirements to some basic thermodynamics equations and start making smarter decisions about your packaging.

We’re Here to Help.

Making the switch from traditional materials to sustainable and eco-friendly packaging is no longer a part of the distant future, but a current reality that companies must embrace to maintain a high ROI, nurture their stakeholder relevance and reduce their overall impact on our planet.

While it may not seem like an easy transition, sustainability in all aspects of your business begins with a commitment from you and all members of your company.

TemperPack Raises $31MM From New and Existing Investors

As Home Deliveries Accelerate, TemperPack Expands Capacity

RICHMOND, Va., August 7, 2020 – TemperPack® Technologies, Inc., the lead manufacturer of sustainable thermal insulation for home deliveries of perishable foods and temperature-sensitive medicines, announces today that it has secured new investments totaling $31.3 million as part of a Series C financing led by Wheatsheaf Group, the UK-based food and agricultural investment arm of the Grosvenor Estate. This latest investment round also included follow on investments by existing shareholders Revolution Growth, Harbert Growth Partners, SJF Ventures, Arborview Capital, Tao Capital, Third Prime Capital, and Greenhouse Capital.

Learn more about our Series C in Crunchbase’s exclusive coverage.

TemperPack’s suite of thermal products includes POPBOX®, a lightweight curbside recyclable alternative to BubbleWrap® and our flagship curbside recyclable ClimaCell® box liners.

TemperPack has seen significant growth over the last 18 months, accelerated by stay-at-home orders which have made home deliveries of meal kits, produce, and prepared meals more mainstream. In addition to bringing on new customers such as Illumina and New England Biolabs, existing customers have increased their orders, and TemperPack has more than doubled the size of its workforce since the end of 2018.

At the same time, life sciences companies shipping insulin, diagnostic tests kits, and biologic medicines are moving away from expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), also known as Styrofoam®. EPS has been banned by dozens of localities in the US for its harmful effects on the environment.

The new funding will enable TemperPack to expand manufacturing of its patented ClimaCell® thermal liners. ClimaCell liners provide similar levels of thermal protection as EPS. Unlike EPS, ClimaCell® is plant-based, 100% curbside recyclable, and reduces carbon emissions. The additional manufacturing capacity will enable ClimaCell to increase market share in the food and life sciences markets and positions TemperPack for future growth in new regions and applications.

" We’ve been seeing increased demand from companies across a range of categories in the food space and from leading life sciences companies proactively breaking away from Styrofoam. The time was right for us to look for partners to allow us to build and accelerate our growth. "

— Brian Powers, TemperPack CEO

“TemperPack is perfectly positioned for long-term growth thanks to a product that delivers a comparable performance to established alternatives but with the added benefit of being sustainable. There is significant opportunity within its core food and life sciences markets in the US and globally, and we expect the ClimaCell® technology will allow it to compete in other markets where Styrofoam is the incumbent material,” said Katrin Burt, Executive Director at Wheatsheaf Group.

TemperPack is one of the only vertically integrated packaging companies to feature an in-house ISTA®-certified Thermal Transport Laboratory, available to all of our clients for qualified testing and solution design packaging.

With this round of funding, TemperPack has now raised over $78MM. The company has 200 employees and manufacturing facilities in Richmond, Virginia, and Las Vegas, Nevada. TemperPack estimates that, by choosing ClimaCell over EPS, its customers have avoided the creation of over 18 million kilograms of carbon missions and eliminated the need for over 220,000 cubic meters of plastic waste since 2018.

“The global pandemic swiftly accelerated the volume of home deliveries and will likely contribute to lasting changes in e-commerce behavior as well as increased interest in sustainability as trash bins overflow with non-recyclable shipping materials. We are proud to reinvest in TemperPack as they lead the movement from toxic, plastic packaging to sustainable alternatives,” said Todd Klein, Partner at Revolution Growth.

The company was founded in 2015 by CEO Brian Powers, Chief Product Officer James McGoff, and Chief Technology Officer Charles Vincent. TemperPack currently works with food delivery and healthcare companies including HelloFresh and Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy.

About TemperPack

TemperPack® makes packaging that works for businesses, people, and the planet. The company was borne out of a desire to reduce the amount of unsustainable packaging caused by the rise of e-commerce and perishable delivery. Incorporating environmental responsibility into product design, the company specializes in bringing the highest quality packaging solutions to scale. Operating an ISTA® certified Thermal Transport Lab and state-of-the-art production facilities in Richmond, VA and Las Vegas, NV, TemperPack is rapidly expanding its reach in the perishable food and life sciences industries with recyclable and compostable packaging solutions. Our mission is simple: protect products with packaging that protects the planet.

About Wheatsheaf Group

The Wheatsheaf Group invests in food and agriculture businesses using capital and expertise with a far-sighted perspective to deliver lasting commercial, social and environmental benefit.

With one of the largest and longest established investment teams in the sector, Wheatsheaf partners with its portfolio companies to create efficiencies in the production and distribution of food; developing innovative business models and technologies to deliver affordable, nutritious and safe food that sustains both human health and the health of the planet.

Working to deploy such business models and technologies commercially at scale, Wheatsheaf works to deliver enduring solutions to address one of modern society’s most pressing challenges – supplying healthy, nutritious food to the meet the demands of a changing global population.

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