Cold Chain Packaging: The New Norm in Today’s Covid World

If you are like most people, you have likely become accustomed to seeing Amazon, FedEx, and Wal-Mart trucks driving up and down the streets of your neighborhood dropping off deliveries. Some of these same services are also delivering temperature-sensitive vaccines and other medications to hospitals, clinics and make-shift vaccine centers. During the pandemic, daily deliveries have become the “new” normal.

Many foods and life-saving medications need to be shipped and stored at specific temperatures to assure the safety of the recipients. COVID sparked a large uptick in the use of cold chain packaging to assure this. In fact, according to data, demand was peaking at $52 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $387 billion by 2025 according to Brandessence Market Research. Covid has only exasperated the use of cold chain packaging due to the consumer need to deliver perishable food items, and the push to get the COVID-19 vaccines to as many people as possible.

 Let’s discuss what cold packaging is and how to think of it as part of the “new normal”.


What is Cold Chain Packaging?

Cold chain shipping refers to the temperature-controlled transport of temperature-sensitive items such as perishable foods, biologics, and pharmaceutical products. It entails end to end thinking of “products” from manufacture to delivery. The process involves well timed, carefully chosen transportation routes, proper packaging and transportation equipment, and monitoring devices to pinpoint temperature fluctuations during the process. Every step of the process ensures that the goods reach the end-user in in the temperature at which it was intended.

Throughout the cold chain process, the goods need to be kept at constant, specific temperatures to keep them from spoiling (in the case of food), or affecting efficacy (in the case of medications). As many of these items are either ingested or injected into the body, a “bad batch” can have serious consequences.  Products can become unsafe and ineffective with the slightest change in temperature during any part of the packaging or transportation process.

Cold chain packaging is used when refrigeration is not possible in transit or storage. It involves using a refrigerant (such as gel packs) and an insulated cooler.

Industries That Use Cold Packaging

Covid has put limits on our social life with friends and they are wanting fast, ready-made to be eaten at their convenience. As this trend continues to shift, pandemic or not, manufacturers and grocers alike must adjust to this new norm….and they are.

The pandemic has also put the squeeze on vaccine manufacturers to test their solutions for temperature consistency that may take their product from one corner of the country to the next, or even to areas where refrigeration is not available.

Don’t forget as well, that people are still in need of lifesaving blood, specialty drugs and organs. These items are still needed even while pandemics and trends are happening.

Reasons to Use Temperature-Controlled Packaging

With the vaccine rollout, it has become a challenge to store and transport large enough quantities. The required ultra-cold temperatures the vaccines need to be stored in require specialized freezers, packaging, and transportation. To help meet the demand for COVID vaccines, companies like UPS and FedEx have built warehouses of ultra-cold freezers to handle them.

Though there are challenges involved in cold-chain packaging and shipping, there are strong reasons to invest in it:

  • It ensures end-product safety – The only thing standing between the life saving medications and 100 degree heat may be 4 inches of packaging. Cold chain packaging is the key.
  • It allows for using non refrigerated transport – in places where the temperature go into the 100’s or may drop to below freezing, you need to assure temperature consistency at the lowest possible costs. Refrigerated transport may be more expensive.
  • Can be certified (aka qualified) and tested (aka validated) to meet the needs of your individual product and compliance organizations.
  • It is the new normal – The ease, convenience, and safety of meal delivery using cold packaging will likely not go away anytime soon. The pandemic has created a “new” normal of convenience and precaution. Cold-chain shipping will continue growing in the future.

The pandemic has illustrated the importance of cold-chain packaging. If you are looking for a solution that is cost-effective and provides the protection you need, contact TempAid today to learn more.