With the arrival of the holiday season comes the anticipation of giving and receiving gifts. One popular option is the gift basket of specialty foods that is filled with chocolates, fruits, or cheeses. However, unlike a new sweater or a fancy watch, these gifts are perishable items. So, how do these delicacies make it to your holiday table intact?

For the common specialty foods that are given during the holidays, there are different temperature requirements needed to keep them in top condition. Chocolate, for example, is best kept at body temperature for solid pieces and at room temperature for thinner ganache. It is also recommended that chocolate be refrigerated before packaging and boxed with enough cold packs to endure travel time and conditions[i].

Fruit, on the other hand, requires cooler temperatures to remain an ideal present. Berries can be stored at no more than 36°F while citrus fruit cannot reach more than 50°F. Shipping these fruits requires refrigeration for 24-36 hours[ii].

Finally, there are gifts of artisan cheeses. Members of the dairy industry explain that hard cheeses are easier to ship than soft cheese since they are less sensitive to humidity and temperature changes. The rule of thumb for shipping cheeses is for it to take no more than 2 days and to include cheese paper with any shipping insulation[iii].

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When it comes to packaging all these goods for shipping, it is best to test the packout of the entire parcel to be sure that the specialties will arrive in prime condition. These packouts typically include gel packs as refrigerants to keep the products cool and insulated shipping containers that maintain a package’s temperature. Gel packs are considered a cost-effective tool for keeping packages at their required temperatures and are ideal for the food industry. Some also come with a “no-sweat” option that protects products against condensation. As for shippers, insulated containers made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) act as excellent insulators for refrigerated items. Different gift baskets have different needs, so having an in-depth discussion with a packaging supplier is extremely helpful before sending any treats to loved ones.

Whether you are shipping specialty food items, pharmaceuticals or amphibians and reptiles Cryopak sales consultants and packaging engineers are here to work with you to address your packaging challenges. You can reach us through our website; www.cryopak.com, by email; sales@cryopak.com or by phone; (732) 346-9200.

At Cryopak we’re looking forward to the 2021 holiday season and all of the hope and promise that the new year brings. Best wishes to you and yours for a happy and healthy holiday season.

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[i] “A Guide to Shipping Chocolate.” The Secret Chocolatier, 4 May 2020, https://homemadechocolategifts.com/2020/a-guide-to-shipping-chocolate/

[ii] Jain, Celia. “How to Ship Fresh Produce.” Shipping Schoolhttps://www.shippingschool.com/how-to-ship-fresh-produce/

[iii] “How to Ship Cheese for the Holidays.” Wisconsin Cheesehttps://www.wisconsincheese.com/the-cheese-life/article/47/how-to-ship-cheese