How to Ship Ice Cream

Learn how to keep ice cream from melting when you ship it, and which carrier to use
ship ice cream
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Every year when summer rolls around, the lines start forming around the block for the neighborhood ice cream shops. However, during 2020, when a lot of retail stores were shut down, countless ice cream businesses took to the Internet to reach their customers through eCommerce! This means they had to find a way to ship their products…and at the end of the day, a lot of people found out that sending ice cream can get messy. This guide is all about how to ship ice cream, how to keep it from melting during transit, and how to get it to your recipients the fastest way possible.

Table of Contents

FedEx is the Best Carrier for Shipping Ice Cream

Since FedEx is the premier carrier for sending frozen food, they are the best choice for shipping ice cream. FedEx doesn’t just offer specialized, insulated cold packaging built for keeping frozen food like ice cream cool during transit. They also offer some of the fastest shipping services out of all the major carriers. This is highly important because you don’t want ice cream to be in transit for more than 30 hours, ideally. Therefore, on top of using their specialty cold packaging want to spring for one of FedEx’s overnight services.

We’ve laid out the three different overnight services FedEx offers below:

  • First Overnight (fastest and most expensive)
  • Priority Overnight (medium-fast and still fairly expensive)
  • Standard Overnight (slowest and most economical)

Want more information on FedEx cold shipping? Check it out on the FedEx website.

Use Packing Materials Like Gel Packs and Dry Ice to Keep Ice Cream from Melting

In addition to opting for the speedy delivery and the right kind of packaging, you’ll also want to use the right kinds of packing material inside your box. You’ll need packing material that will help keep the ice cream cool, such as frozen gel packs and styrofoam inserts for insulation. A lot of experienced shippers also opt for dry ice inside the box, as well!

Pro Tip: Dry ice is considered a type of hazardous material, but don’t worry—FedEx workers handle these sorts of materials all the time. If you want to use dry ice inside your box, you’ll likely need to pay an additional hazardous material fee on top of the shipping and packaging costs, but FedEx won’t flat-out reject your shipment because of it. The maximum amount of dry ice FedEx allows per package is 200kg (or about 440 pounds).

Consider the Time of Year and Region You’re Shipping To

Before sending out your ice cream, it’s important to consider where you’re shipping to, and what time of year it is. For example, if you’re sending ice cream to Boston in the middle of winter, you may be able to cut some corners. You may not need to include as much dry ice inside your shipment as you would during the summer, and you may not need to pay for the absolute fastest delivery available. The elements can help you in this case, and you may be able to shave down some of your costs by letting nature work for you!

On the other hand, sending ice cream to California in the summer is the opposite side of the coin. The majority of the state sees temperatures upwards of 90 degrees Fahrenheit during that time of year, and ice cream barely lasts a few minutes if not insulated. So, you’ll want to use as much dry ice and gel packs as you can fit in your box to keep your ice cream from melting, and you’ll want to spring for the fastest delivery option possible.

You May Not Be Able to Insure Your Shipment

When sending ice cream, you should keep in mind that you may not be able to purchase extra shipping insurance. Well, you can try to purchase it…but you may not be able to file a valid claim if you need to. This is because most shipping insurance companies specifically won’t insure perishable items, and ice cream is at the top of the list of items that go bad quickly. From an insurance standpoint, it simply doesn’t make sense to provide coverage for items as perishable as ice cream; they would have to pay out claims all the time due to negligence and oversights with packaging.

Since you won’t have the added protection of insurance for your ice cream shipments, it’s critical to get it right the first time. Fortunately, it all comes down to packaging it properly and paying for expedited delivery!

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