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5 Most Temperature-Sensitive Products that Require Cold Chain Packaging

By July 28, 2021June 7th, 2024Industry, Resources

The quality, freshness and sometimes even the viability of temperature-sensitive products can change with spikes in ambient temperature. It’s crucial to utilize insulated shipping materials that can keep these items within the desired temperature range during transport. Using insulated shipping liners, pouches and gel packs can help temperature sensitive products to consistently stay at a desired temperature range during transportation .

Below we have listed some of the most temperature-sensitive products that require cold chain packaging.


  1. Shipping Medical Products
  2. Shipping Wine Cold
  3. Shipping Ice Cream
  4. Shipping Fresh Fruit
  5. Shipping Meats

1. Shipping Medical Products

pharmaceuticals temp sensitive products

Pharmaceutical and medical products inside an insulated box liner. PopupLiner

Shipping pharmaceuticals and other medical products is a “no-fail” endeavor. Whether it’s vaccines, injectables like insulin, medical devices, blood products such as plasma or other pharmaceutical products, it’s important that they are protected from heat and cold. We see two main types of temperature needs within the medical space.

Shipping Shelf Stable Pharmaceuticals

Shelf stable medical products must be kept at near room temperature CRT Controlled Room Temperature  (between 64-73 °F) depending on the product. Choosing the correct box size, insulation material at correct thickness  and material is critical for these products. Room Temperature PCM’s can be used as a refrigerant as can conventional ice packs, wherein the cold is tempered using paper or plastic bubble dunnage as a buffer.

Shipping Pharmaceutical within 2-8°C 

Live vaccines must be kept at 5°C (within the 2-8 °C range) or lower, otherwise they will degrade in quality. This will require a more robust insulator along with 2-8 C PCM’s or conventional ice packs only when excursions below 2C are acceptable.

Shipping Pharmaceuticals within a low change or rate in Temperature

Other items like organic fluids must also be kept at lower temperatures, but have the added requirement of keeping a low temperature rate of change. 

We recommend our highest performing insulator, PopupLiner, for shipping pharmaceuticals and medical related products. Our PopupLiner insulated box liner maximizes your refrigerant and minimizes rapid temperature change in even the most unforgiving temperature. We offer our high performance thermal insulator in two form factors. 

Box Liners

Our PopupLiner is comprised of 2 panels arranged to fit almost any size box. They are made of a lightweight proprietary material that is both fully collapsible and compressed using our patented technology and a reflective mylar cover.

PopupLiner 2-Piece Box Liner


These lightweight thermal mailers provide unmatched insulation, as well as excellent cushioning, shock and vibration protection.

PopupLiner Pouch

We run ISTA summer profiles on our products in order to ensure their quality and work with you to determine the best form factor and thickness for your particular pharmaceutical product.

Check out our Guide to insulated Packaging for Pharmaceuticals and Medical Shipments

2. Shipping Wine Cold

Although in 2024 the state of wine sales is nowhere near where it was during Covid, shipping wine remains a highly profitable business driven by passionate individuals dedicated to delivering the finest wines to their customers’ doorsteps. Ensuring that wine maintains its optimal state during transit is important, and one of the most effective ways to achieve this is by insulating it from heat and more importantly severe spikes or dips in temperature during transport.

ship wine with termal insulating box liner

Importance of Insulation for Wine: Wine connoisseurs can immediately distinguish between flat wine and quality wine. A good rule of thumb with wine is: the hotter you store it, the quicker it will age. The more it ages, the flatter the flavor. Proper insulation helps maintain the wine’s integrity, preventing unwanted aging and flavor degradation.

Temperature Control: If your wine takes several days to ship, it is essential to ensure it can handle fluctuating temperatures. Investing in high-quality insulated box liners can protect the wine from heat exposure, preserving its quality throughout the shipping process. You can also increase your transit times  and reduce your shipping costs by pairing gel packs with your insulated shipments of wine. 

Our Curbside Recyclable Insulated box liners, CelluLiner, provide a thermal barrier between your wine and the ambient temperature of the environment, reducing the risk of the wine reaching suboptimal temperatures that can lead to spoilage. The liners provide an added benefit in that they add drop, vibration and breakage protection since they are soft and plush, perfect for transporting glass bottles. When used with a paper outer carton and a paper cradle, the packaging becomes wholly curbside recyclable. If you’re shipping pallets from a vineyard to a distribution facility, you might also consider our Insulated Pallet Covers.

Using Technology to Create Different Shipping Profiles for your Wine:

If you’re using IOT thermal sensors and GPS to provide real-time monitoring of temperature, humidity, and location you can be proactive in your shipping forecasts and optimize your refrigerant and thermal insulator against temperature and moisture trends during seasons or routes. We have years of experience in collaborating with firms to ensure that you have a winning strategy to keep your wines well-protected regardless of the season. 

Proper insulation and careful handling ensures that the wine arrives in perfect condition and enhances the customer experience. We also offer a paper based curbside recyclable insulated box liner for brands that champion a sustainable future and would like to preserve the wine’s flavor at the same time.

For a more detailed guide on how to ship wine effectively, including choosing the right insulation and leveraging technological solutions, check out our full guide on How to Ship Wine

3. Shipping Ice Cream

ice cream products insulated packaging

Ice cream products in insulated packaging, using high performance popup liner

Shipping ice cream beyond local delivery requires high performing insulation like our vacuum compressed liners and dry ice. There’s no way around it. It must remain below freezing temperatures and protected from ambient heat during transport.If ice cream is exposed to temperatures above -20C, it begins to melt. Ice cream that has melted has a chance of harboring bacterial growth, overflowing from inside the tub it was packed in, and does not retain its intended quality. This is easily one of the trickiest items to transport.

Broadly we see two categories of shipping Ice Cream and we’ve helped dozens if not hundreds of people ship their ice cream to satisfied customers.

Keeping Ice Cream frozen during a local delivery

Last mile delivery through app based delivery services like Grubhub or even a self run delivery service requires a great insulated bag and some single use insulated liners. We’ve found a few tricks using our liners. Our Celluliner pouches when used with our Celluliner Grocery Bags, provide solid performance for 3 hour windows shipping pints of ice cream with no need for dry ice.

Shipping Ice Cream Overnight to Ground

A pairing of dry Ice and a high performance thermal insulator are necessary to keep ice cream from melting. It’s important to choose the right box size to reduce the amount of empty space in the box, which can often be tricky for pints of ice cream that have a narrower bottom.

Ice cream that has been re-frozen becomes more crystallized due to evaporation (i.e. absorbing moisture from the ambient environment), ruining the flavor experience your consumers come to enjoy.

For our full guide on How to Ship IceCream

4. Shipping Fresh Fruit

Fruit is a very temperature-sensitive food product, especially berries and other thin skinned fruits. A common mistake that is made in the process of shipping specialty fruits and vegetables is incorrect packaging that results in bruised fruits that consumers will skip over without question. 

A common method is to use reefer trucks to transport fresh fruits and vegetables. Reefer trucks are expensive, require maintenance, use up a lot of resources and are a liability if they break down. You can optimize your cold chain process of shipping fruits by insulating your pallets with our insulated pallet covers. You can also insulate each individual box using our CooLiner box liner. We see that more often in our D2C clients that ship produce. Optimal cold chain management for fresh fruit requires proper insulated food packaging to maintain temperature while eliminating moisture and condensation and decreasing the chance of bruising from rough handling.

Check this out for our Full guide on How to Ship Fruit Year Round

5. Shipping Meats

meat temperature sensitive product

Meat products include sausages and burgers in an insulated box liner.

Bacteria thrive on meat at the right temperatures. A rule of thumb with shipping raw meat: if it’s exposed to ambient temperatures that exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours, it should be thrown away. It’s better to be safe than sorry with various meats, calling for exceptional quality standards that can be perfectly achieved with IPC’s insulated box liners.

Insulation is king here. We’ve helped a lot of clients go from overnight shipping very heavy (read: expensive) boxes to 3 day ground. The money saved on shipping offsets any cost difference that our PopupLiner may have against other liners. We often see multiple sizes: small, medium and large, supplemented with dry ice. Much like Pharmaceuticals, it’s imperative you don’t ruin the product by making it too cold or too hot. We can help you through this high wire balancing act.

Here’s our full guide on how to ship meat

You cannot rely on a shipping service to keep your product in temperature-controlled environments from start to finish, even though they may claim so. This is why it’s crucial to use insulated shipping services with the best packaging practices in order to help accomplish your goals of meeting quality standards.


Expertise in cold chain packaging is hard to come by, but we offer 25 years of packaging know-how to help you find the perfect solutions for your growing business operations. Whether you’re looking for the perfect pouch to fit small vials to hold at 2-8°C or if you’re looking to save on shipping by extending your frozen meat shipments to 3 day ground shipping by using a high performance thermal box-liner, you can count on us. We’ll walk you through dimensions, materials, pricing and get you hands on samples within the week.

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