Temperature Controlled: The Key To Shipping Fresh Produce

Temperature Controlled: The Key To Shipping Fresh Produce

November 9, 2022

Everyone knows that food tastes better when it's fresh. The difference between an apple plucked straight from the tree versus one that has been sitting on your kitchen counter for a week speaks for itself.

Shippers have spent years trying to overcome this fact of nature. In the past, caravans and traders would pack meats and other perishable goods in salt to keep them from rotting. Now, thanks to technological progress, we can ship produce and other perishable goods at temperatures that keep them fresh and delicious. This method of shipping is known as temperature-controlled shipping and it’s the key to shipping fresh produce.

How Does Temperature-Controlled Shipping Work?

As you might expect, temperature-controlled shipping works by managing the temperature inside of the trailer, shipping container, or other transportation vessel in which temperature-sensitive goods are being carried.

This climate-controlled environment is often accomplished through a combination of the following methods:

  • Refrigerated trucks and trailers
  • Insulated packaging
  • Cooling elements within the trailer or within the packaging (e.g., dry ice, ice packs, etc.)
  • Air-moisture regulation technology within the trailer

These technologies and packing methods can be used in various combinations to meet the specific needs of the goods you are shipping. This is especially important as each product has a different temperature range at which it is preserved without suffering negative effects from the cold.

Is Temperature-Controlled Shipping Expensive?

This method of shipping is more expensive than standard shipping but is well worth it when considering how much value it actually saves. As an example, imagine if you were shipping a of spinach to supermarkets in various states. If you shipped this via standard shipping, there's a good chance that a significant percentage of your inventory would spoil, rendering it valueless.

If you had shipped this load of spinach using temperature controls, you'd be far less likely to lose inventory. Through this example, we can see that the slight cost increase of this shipping method actually saves you money by protecting your perishable inventory.

What Goods Require Temperature-Controlled Shipping?

Many items require temperature controlled shipping. We've already mentioned meats and produce, which are some of the most temperature-sensitive items, but they are by no means the only items that require this kind of shipping.

The following is a short list of notable product types that require temperature-controlled shipping, along with some detail on how best to ship each type of product.

  • Produce — Certain types of produce require temperature-controlled shipping in order to remain fresh for customers. Because there are so many different types of produce, it's important to make sure you are spending your money wisely. For instance, citrus fruits can sometimes be shipped through standard truckload shipping thanks to their tough outer skin. Other produce, like fragile vegetables, herbs, and leafy greens, require temperature controls in order to remain fresh and unspoiled.
  • Animal Products — Nearly every animal product requires some form of temperature-controlled shipping. This includes everything from eggs and milk to meat and butter. Much like produce, these goods may need widely different temperature ranges, so make sure to do your research before deciding what temperature is best for your goods. A good carrier or logistics partner can help you avoid shipping mishaps with their wide range of shipping knowledge.
  • Medications — Many medicines require very specific temperatures in order to remain effective. Those outside of the logistics world got a glimpse of this fact when news organizations covered the challenges of distributing the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Hazardous Materials — Some hazardous materials need to be kept at very specific temperatures for safe transportation. Sometimes, hazardous materials like dry ice are used during temperature-controlled shipping as a coolant.
  • Flowers — While flowers could reasonably be described as produce, they require very specific temperature ranges, making them a unique category. Flowers cannot be frozen as that would damage the petals, but leaving them in an unregulated environment will cause them to wilt or even rot.

Make Temperature-Controlled Shipping Work for Your Small Business

The best way to get fresh products to your customers through temperature-controlled shipping is by working with an experienced logistics partner. At Inland, we help small businesses like you with our vast network of vetted, high-quality carriers. Using this expansive network, we're able to provide the best prices and widest range of services to small business owners like you! Get a quote today and find out how you can take advantage of temperature-controlled shipping options.