The rise of mail-order food shopping means more suppliers are shipping meat to customers. While convenient, it is also risky.

As a perishable product that attracts rapid bacterial growth, meats must be kept colder than 40° F.

This is the case for all meats, from beef and poultry to lamb and pork, as well as processed meat products like burgers, ham and sausages. Some meats need to be kept at a refrigerated temperature, while others require freezing conditions.

This presents challenges for meat suppliers as they need to be certain their product will remain at the necessary temperature throughout the entire shipping duration. If it doesn’t, the meat will spoil and could be dangerous to consume.

Best Practices for Shipping Meat

Meat suppliers have a range of options for transporting their products, from meat shipping boxes to meat shipping containers. Using appropriate packaging for meat products isn’t the only consideration though. Here, we’ll go through this and other best practices for shipping meat.

1. Use effective insulated packaging

The best meat packaging boxes for shipping are insulated meat boxes. These provide a protective barrier against ambient temperatures, allowing you to maintain the required temperature inside the insulated meat boxes for the entire shipping duration.

View our recommended insulated meat packaging below.

2. Add sufficient refrigerants for additional protection

To complement the protective insulation of refrigerated and frozen meat shipping boxes, use refrigerants inside the meat shipping containers.

Cold packs and/or dry ice allows you to maintain cold temperatures for even longer periods. The quantity required to do so depends on the following:

  • Meat weight
  • Caliber of the insulation
  • Ambient temperatures
  • Shipping duration

3. Avoid longer transit durations

Many meat suppliers assume they must offer overnight shipping to safely deliver their products.

With effective insulated packaging and sufficient refrigerants, however, it is possible to protect refrigerated meats for up to 72 hours. Frozen meats, meanwhile, can be protected for up to 48 hours using appropriate insulated boxes for frozen meat packaging alongside dry ice.

Transit durations longer than these are not recommended.

Recommended Meat Shipping Box: PopupLiner

PopupLiner is an insulated box liner that can be custom-sized to fit inside any carton box. Providing both reflective and conductive insulation, IPC’s proprietary design ensures your frozen and refrigerated meat shipments are protected from ambient temperatures for up to 72 hours in-transit. It is even effective at maintaining the required temperature for cold shipping seafood.

Don’t just take our word for it though. At our in-house performance-testing facility, we can simulate the ambient conditions your product will be shipped under and provide a detailed analysis of its temperature range throughout the shipment. Based on these results, we can develop the best protocol for shipping the meats at the required temperature.

As well as providing effective thermal insulation, PopupLiner is compact and easy-to-use. The liners arrive flat in compressed bundles, ready to be unfolded and dropped into a carton. As well as saving on labor assembly, the PopupLiner is space-efficient which means lower warehouse and storage costs compared to bulky EPS coolers.

PopupLiner can also be made water-tight with the addition of a plastic liner, making them practical to use alongside cold gel packs or dry ice.

Insulated Packaging Supplies for Meat

CelluLiner

Made entirely of curbside recyclable materials, this insulation packaging liner is perfect for meat shipments directly to consumers. Not only does CelluLiner protect shipments for up to 48 hours, it is the most environmentally friendly insulated meat packaging solution available.

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meat shipping boxes

PopupLiner

This high-performance insulation packaging liner is ideal for B2B meat shipments, or shipping durations up to 72 hours. PopupLiner’s unique compression technology also makes them incredibly space-efficient, thus reducing storage costs.

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meat packaging box

Gel Packs

IPC manufactures a variety of refrigerated gel packs to suit various business requirements.

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meat shipping gel packs

Meat Shipping FAQ

Can you mail raw meat?

Absolutely! With PopupLiner, raw meat can be maintained at the required temperature in-transit for up to 72 hours.

How do you transport fresh meat long distance?

The most important aspect is having a reliable and effective method of temperature control. The use of dry ice or cold gel packs can considerably extend cold shipping range, but there are many other factors to consider as well.

For more information, read our guide on shipping meat. Alternatively, find out how we helped a mail-order beef company expand their reach with our proprietary insulated packaging.

What temperature should meat be transported?

Meat must be kept below 40° F to prevent spoilage. Consuming meat that has been stored at temperatures higher than this for an extended period can be dangerous.

How do you transport meat without a cooler?

PopupLiner is IPC’s recommended method for transporting meat. Not only does it provide greater thermal protection, it is more space-efficient and cost-effective.

What temperature should fresh meat be delivered?

Meat should be delivered to the customer at below 40° F. Temperatures higher than this run the risk of spoiling the meat.

Case Study

This comparison clearly shows how the 1″ PopupLiner and Dry Ice can be used to increase profits and expand the reach of companies wishing to ship frozen meat and other frozen products via ground transport.

Read Full Case Study

Frozen Meat Test