Unmelted chocolate

Shipping Chocolate Products Without Refrigeration

Posted onApril 14, 2022

Can I ship chocolate without a reefer?

As a famously finicky product, chocolate manufacturers may simply assume that they have no choice but to ship year-round in expensive climate-controlled trucks. That may not be the case, however. Passive thermal insulation can open up cheaper and more readily-available shipping options for chocolate, changing the answer from “no” to a far more flexible “it's possible”.

The factor that most impacts shipping decisions in the warmer months is melting point. Differences in ingredients and preparation methods of chocolate products generate a wide variety of melting points. Typically, the higher the quality of chocolate, the lower the melting point. However, many chocolate-covered products include other ingredients such as fillers and wax, which can make the melting point higher. Dark chocolates with higher percentages of cocoa solids also have higher melting points than milk and white chocolates.

Astro-Cooler Pallet Covers typically keep the air temperature under the cover in a range that is 20-25 degrees cooler than outside the cover. By reducing the threat of reaching those critical melting points, dry shipping under passive thermal protection becomes a viable option in many more cases:

  • Short-haul shipments any time of the year
  • LTL shipments during the entire year with the exception of the summer months
  • Full truckload shipments during the entire year with the exception of the summer months (try our Side Guard for this use!)

In fact, some clients that produce highly processed chocolate with higher-than-average melting points have been able to dry ship even in the summer months.

On the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, chocolate that freezes during shipping can “bloom” which is caused by the chocolate losing its temper. Natural cocoa butters come to the surface causing spotty white streaks and a chalky texture. Condensation can also ruin chocolate before it reaches the kitchen. All chefs know: water is the enemy of chocolate!

The benefit of passive thermal insulation, then, is that it protects from cold temperatures in the same way it protects from warm temperatures. Air temperatures under an AC pallet cover will stay warmer than the outside air, protecting from both freezing and rapid changes in temp that cause condensation. One solution for any season!

Astro-Cooler’s Pallet Covers come in standard heights of 48”, 60”, and 72” and in two material options: Our basic Astro-Cooler aluminum foil layer or the more durable and protective Astro-Quilt material. Custom sizes can also be manufactured to your specifications as required for your shipping needs.

We would love to talk with you and discuss your specific application to see if our products can help you get from “it depends” to “Yes! I can save shipping costs, lower my carbon footprint, and tap into higher capacity options” when it’s time to ship your chocolate products. Give us a call!