3 August 2022
Transporting frozen food products at -21°C with PCM

Siblings Koon and Jennifer Ho stand at the helm of a large production company of authentic, contemporary Chinese dishes, a company that originated as their father’s restaurant in Amsterdam. During the Covid-19 pandemic Jennifer started a web shop that also enabled customers to enjoy Dim Sum in the comfort of their own homes. These are small Chinese snacks, sometimes referred to as Chinese tapas. These are transported frozen, with Coolpack Phase Change Material gel packs! Read the case study below to find out how they tackle frozen food transport to their customers.


From restaurant to web shop

“After my father started his second restaurant, Treasure, the demand for Chinese culinary masterpieces continued to rise. This resulted in the production company; a company that delivers freshly-frozen dishes to various food & beverage establishments, on a wholesale basis. The idea to enter the consumer market already existed, but gained rapid momentum as a result of the pandemic.”

Following meticulous consumer market research, the platform was set up. Here consumers can order their Dim Sum boxes directly, including dishes, steam baskets, tea varieties and sauces for 2 people. Within 30 minutes people can enjoy fresh Dim Sum. “We prepare the Dim Sum using fresh-daily ingredients, pre-steam and then freeze them. Vital therefore for optimal quality retention is that the Dim Sum can be transported and delivered frozen,” explains Jennifer.

New logistical challenge with frozen transport

Wholesale (frozen) transport is a whole different ball game as opposed to direct delivery to consumers. The hunt for the right solution was on. When Jennifer came into contact with Coolpack she soon noticed their proactive approach. “I pretty much got a response to my query straight away. Their hands-on approach was superb, and interaction was very quick indeed. I was sent a few test products to try out,” explains Jennifer.

Initially, Jennifer was after EPS boxes, to properly insulate the consignments. “I weighed up various alternatives with regard to cooling. Using freeze tubes is expensive, and full capacity cannot be utilised. Nor was dry ice a preferred option, primarily in relation to consumer safety and its relatively short shelf life. Coolpack therefore advised me to use gel packs filled with a specific cooling gel.”

Frozen transport with PCM with no return process

Gel packs were chosen instead of shape-retaining cooling elements because the logistical processes were one-directional: the packaging stays with the customer. For this reason the gel packs proved cost-effective: leakproof, food safe polypropylene bags filled with cooling gel. And in this instance, a Phase Change Material gel at -21°C.

The combination of a fully insulated EPS box and the gel pack with ice cold Phase Change Material ensures the dim sum dishes stay frozen and fresh as they are transported the length and breadth of The Netherlands. “We have fully tested this solution ourselves,” says Jennifer. “We noticed that, under our transport conditions, after 24 hours the gel packs were still ice cold and hard. After 48 hours the hardness had reduced but the packaging temperature was still satisfactory. By ensuring sufficient gel packs are included in the consignments, and accordingly, minimising air space between them, our Dim Sum boxes are fresh-delivered to our customers. At a relatively low price!”

Like to know more?

Are you a business within the food sector encountering logistical challenges when it comes to the chilled or frozen transport of your products? You never know, Phase Change Material might just be the solution you are looking for. The possibilities are limitless, so please get in touch for advice and a bespoke quotation.