Unlike other types of products, frozen foods have special requirements to make sure they’re well-maintained during the shipping process. Temperature control is crucial to prevent spoilage that might otherwise put consumers at risk while resulting in costly waste. This is why you must use the right packaging materials to keep frozen foods consistently cool.

However, you might be unsure about which to use to keep your food frozen: dry ice or gel packs? Both of these packaging materials offer certain benefits depending on what you need for your products and shipping operations.

To help you determine which materials to use, the following is a guide to gel packs vs. dry ice for frozen food applications.

Using Dry Ice for Frozen Food

Dry ice is ideal for many frozen foods. Many people mistakenly believe that dry ice is frozen water, much like traditional ice, but it’s actually carbon dioxide in solid form frozen to -109° Fahrenheit (-79° Celsius). The nature of dry ice makes it better for keeping products frozen for long periods of time, particularly during long-distance shipping. 

There are several advantages of using dry ice for frozen food packaging, including:

Reduced Product Temperatures

Dry ice helps further decrease product temperatures, which keeps them frozen for longer periods of time. This is why products such as frozen meats and ice cream benefit most from dry ice during shipping.

Suitable for Long Shipping Distances

If products require shipping over a long distance, dry ice helps ensure they remain frozen throughout the entire journey.

Increased Sustainability

Dry ice evaporates in the form of CO2 gas without leaving any waste behind. As a result, this helps boost a company’s sustainability and environmental friendliness by eliminating waste byproducts altogether.

Keep Products Dry

The fact that dry ice turns straight to gas means that there’s no risk of products getting wet due to melted ice. In turn, you don’t need to worry about this form of freezing causing damage to products at any point.

Increased Cost-Effectiveness

Another advantage of using dry ice for frozen foods is that you can save money on this product, whereas you would need to spend more on gel packs or reuse them.

What to Keep in Mind Regarding Dry Ice

Dry ice isn’t suitable for every type of product that requires temperature control in low-temp environments. For example, you shouldn’t use dry ice for fresh food or live seafood. It’s best to use dry ice for foods that you can completely seal to prevent the ice from affecting them in any way.

Dry ice poses certain risks when improperly handled. Workers should use protective gloves and other gear when working with dry ice, and packaging should include the appropriate labels to indicate that dry ice is present in packaging.

Additionally, it is important to include a dry ice warning card inside the shipment so consumers are aware of the dangers of handling dry ice and the damage it can case to skin.

Using Gel Packs for Frozen Food

If your products require an alternative to dry ice, you may benefit from using gel packs. These materials consist of pouches that contain temperature-sensitive liquid that can either keep products consistently cool or hot. Products may use gel packs if applications can’t freeze them solid.

Gel packs, like dry ice, offer certain benefits such as:

Compatibility with Many Types of Products

Products that are unable to be frozen solid often rely on gel packs. These may include certain types of pharmaceuticals, along with food products such as fresh produce, chocolate, baked goods, dairy products, and bread.

Prevents Freezing

When stored at room temperature throughout the winter months, gel packs can help keep certain products from freezing.

Safe and Convenient Handling

These products are easy to use and store, and they don’t require any safety measures when handling them the way dry ice does.

Dry ice and gel packs can also be used in together. The gel packs slow the dry ice sublimation rate and ensure your times stay frozen for longer periods of time. 

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Frozen Food Product with Gray Growth Logistics

Both dry ice and gel packs help preserve different types of chilled and frozen products. Ultimately, the right material depends on the types of products you’re shipping, and the temperature levels required. If you need more help with determining which of these and other types of packaging materials you need for frozen food items, Gray Growth Logistics is here for you. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help you!