Insulated Shipping Packaging Box Cooliner & Shippingcarr

Decorating By MD888 Updated 4 Oct 2011 , 9:46pm by MD888

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MD888 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 10:05pm
post #1 of 21

My online cupcake business (Los Angeles) is now operational with local pick up only but would like to overnight ship cross-country. Frosted cupcakes will be frozen with edible image on fondant disc packed separately on a cardboard sheet and are not frozen to prevent bleeding (while thawing) or getting soggy.

1. Dry ice/ styrofoam cooler vs. Thermal box cooliner/gel packs:
a. Which is better?
b. How much dry ice and gel packs?

I'm leaning toward Thermal box cooliner as it's recyclable and hopefully more cost efficient. The frozen cupcakes would be contained in the Dry ice sounds like the fondant edible images would inadvertently get frozen risking ink bleeding while thawing.

2. Is there a standard/stock box cooliner packaging kit that for per dozen high dome cupcake container outer dimensions?: 13 x 10 3/8 x 3 5/8

I have found 14x14x14 box cooliners, but the height is excess packaging and adds weight. Guess the excess isn't too critical, but cannot locate a supplier who will sell a case at a time. I cannot keep an entire pallet in my place.

3. If I go with 14x14x14 cooliner, then where do I get a 14x12x7 box?

4. Which shipping carrier Fed Ex, UPS or USPS is the best/cost effieient to ship with? And how to get a discount?

Any information / advise is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

20 replies
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jason_kraft Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:01pm
post #2 of 21

Do you have customers willing to pay for overnight shipping across country? We looked into this, and the shipping and packaging costs for overnight would start in the $70-80 range. Long-distance shipping for mainstream customers is not really feasible unless your product will survive in transit for at least 2-3 days.

If you are OK targeting the west coast only, Ontrac has more reasonable rates.

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Stephy42088 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:35pm
post #3 of 21

There are a lot of companies who do this successfully. Order from them to find out how they do it. Some examples would be Sheri's berries, sweet street, cake pop creations, georgetown cupcakes, main street cupcakes, etc

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LKing12 Posted 19 Sep 2011 , 11:58pm
post #4 of 21

In my other life, I had a very thankful customer send me cheesecakes. She ordered from CA and they shipped to KY. Still cool and very good. Came in a custome styrofoam container.

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jason_kraft Posted 20 Sep 2011 , 12:23am
post #5 of 21
Originally Posted by Stephy42088

There are a lot of companies who do this successfully. Order from them to find out how they do it. Some examples would be Sheri's berries, sweet street, cake pop creations, georgetown cupcakes, main street cupcakes, etc

There's a difference between offering shipping service at a certain price and getting enough customers to make it worthwhile. For example, I doubt many people avail Main Street Cupcakes of their cross-county shipping service when it costs an extra $85 to ship a dozen cupcakes.

A business like Eli's Cheesecakes that can offer reasonable shipping for cheesecakes is impressive, although they might not be willing to share their shipping information with others.

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MD888 Posted 2 Oct 2011 , 4:16am
post #6 of 21

Jason - Thanks for suggesting Ontrac. I am looking to ship coast to coast. While it is expensive to ship, I believe some are willing to pay. Plus volume is the key to getting discounted shipping....but I don't have volume.

Stephy - Thanks for your suggestion. I've contacted one you mentioned, however, their packaging is propriety. And Jason is right...they won't share their info with me. I have made inquiries. I know how they're doing it, but would like to know the specific suppliers. I figured if they're already providing the items, they would have them in stock.

LKing - There is stock packaging for cheesecakes with a cooler and dry ice. But not standard packaging for cupcakes which I would have thought would be available by now. Think I will try for the thermal wrap and gel packs or ice blankets as they are recyclable.

I have found a place in Seattle for the cooliner boxliners/ice blankets (they say ice blankets are replacing gel packs), but not receiving samples as promised. And waiting for a quote too.

I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and help. This is a wonderful community...wish everyone would share their info. If I ever get my samples/quote, I'd be happy to share with everyone here. Sorry for the delayed response...I thought I would get an email notice that someone had replied.

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scp1127 Posted 2 Oct 2011 , 6:02am
post #7 of 21

MD, just some info, do you have FDA approval? It is required to ship interstate and worldwide. They also have safety guidelines for shipping and these must be met.

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MD888 Posted 2 Oct 2011 , 7:59am
post #8 of 21


I was aware of carrier perishable regulations (weight content for food & dry ice) for refrigerants (dry ice labeling) but not the FDA approval. I wonder how this works as the bakery acts as my wholesaler. I don't do any of the baking. Thanks for the info. I would have over-looked. What is the approval process?


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scp1127 Posted 2 Oct 2011 , 9:01am
post #9 of 21

MD, the application is available at your state Dept of Ag. The bakery must have an FDA approved kitchen. If it is a retail establishment, It should be fine. Drains in the floor and proper equipment and surfaces are a must. You must register with the Bio-Terrorism Act, all of your products must carry FDA approved labels with nutrition analysis. These are betwen $125.00 to $200.00 each. A recall protocol must be in place. You must use all FDA daily logs and keep them for the required time or stiff fines are added for each day of non-compliance. The FDA will set the satndards for safe shipping. That was what clued me that you may not know. Jason was correct in that the shipping is expensive unless you have a commercial contract and establish a bulk system.

I built my kitchen to FDA standards. But when I was ready for inspection, my inspector was deployed. My local HD said that once I get FDA approval, they don't need to inspect me anymore. It has some of the highest requirements. My local HD required all but the things above, so the cost was the same.

Now that I'm open, the idea of buying all of those labels doesn't sound so great. I do have a nationwide company that is interested in promoting my cakes, so now I have to get serious again. I told them I could offer five to ten varieties. The price of proper shipping will be expensive. But there is a market.

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MD888 Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 12:17am
post #10 of 21

SCP - Thanks for the approval process....lots of hoops to jump through. Will contact the Dept of Agr. and go from there. Good luck on your shipping too. Will keep everyone posted.

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scp1127 Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 12:43am
post #11 of 21

It would be great to follow your process if you will share. I don't think I have ever read about anyone going through the whole thing. Shop around for the analysis of the products. The price varies quite a bit. I am trying to open a retail shop in the near future, and the price for finalizing shipping through FDA requirements is money away from the retail project. If I have to choose, the retail will come first. I have my own plan for shipping as a much later project. The offer was unexpected and I'm still debating the next direction. They did tell me that the process is quick.

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nancyg Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 1:12am
post #12 of 21

Now I have a really dumb question.....How do you keep the box from being turned on its side or upside down so the product does not get damaged???

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scp1127 Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 1:42am
post #13 of 21

You don't. It just has to be packaged for no damage in this scenario. Another reason for the frozen overnight delivery. The packaging may be so complex as to have a molded plastic, made-to-fit protective covering. This is why this isn't set up well for the casual user. I have a plan, but I can't share it. But I only have the cupcake plan down, nothing else. It's a little unconventional, but I like it. On cakes, I have the basic plan, but no packaging price. It will be a ready-made package with the cake conforming to the package size. But my business is different than most on CC. My cakes are mostly homestyle, so I have some easier issues. I am looking at a tin for the cakes. Cookies, muffins, etc., are much easier to figure out.

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MD888 Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 2:57am
post #15 of 21

Imagenthatnj: That's the thermal bubble wrap box cooliner I am seeking along with an ice blanket. Thanks so much for forwarding these links!! Still working on one supplier with the size I need and to get samples.

SCP: So all these cupcakeries that ship have FDA approval? I don't see any nutrition labels (especially for a variety pack).

If FDA approval needed, then cost/labels could prevent me from interstate shipping.

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jason_kraft Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 3:02am
post #16 of 21

Are the FDA requirements still in effect if the shipment does not cross state lines? If not, restricting shipments to California would still leave you with a pretty big market.

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MD888 Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 3:54am
post #17 of 21

Jason: I think you're right. If I stay within California, I don't need FDA approval. I found that there are some exemptions for Custom Cake (I would consider my cupcakes to be custom cakes. See underlined below) with earning limits. Don't quite understand it all.

Importers Manual USA (FDA requirement for interstate shipping)

L118. Could FDA provide additional guidance on what foods sold in delis and bakeries are exempt?

Answer: This exemption is based on 3 primary criteria: 1) when the food is consumed, 2) the location in which the food is processed and prepared, and 3) the extent to which the food is processed and prepared (i.e., must be ready-to-eat and of the type served in restaurants). Bakeries and delis that sell foods for immediate consumption (e.g., where the deli or bakery has facilities for customers to sit and consume the food on the premises) are considered analogous to restaurants and all foods sold in such establishments are exempt under 21 CFR 101.9(j)(2)provided no claims are made. When foods are not for immediate consumption, they may be exempt if they meet all of the criteria listed in 21 CFR 101.9(j)(3). That is, when the food is ready-to-eat and is processed and prepared primarily on the premises of the establishment from which it is sold, it is exempt - regardless of how it is sold (i.e., from behind a counter or in pre-portioned packages from a self-service shelf). However, if the food is not primarily processed and prepared on-site, nutrition labeling is required. To meet the criteria for being primarily processed and prepared on-site, the food must be augmented on site in a manner that changes the nutrient profile of the food (i.e., filling, icing, enrobing). Washing and garnishing with nuts, onions or seeds would fall under the definition of primarily processed and prepared if the added foods change the nutrition profile of the finished product. Custom cakes are exempt. If pre-formed dough, pre scaled/molded and par baked dough are merely proofed and baked or simply thawed, the product is considered to be standardized and nutrition labeling is required. Foods which are not prepared on premises and that are portioned to consumer specifications on-site are not required to have nutrition labeling (e.g., 1 lb of potato salad; 2 lb cheese, 1 lb assorted cookies, 5 rolls). However, if these items are packaged and offered for sale in another section of the store (e.g., refrigerator case; self service bins), nutrition labeling is mandatory. 21 CFR 101.9(j)(3)(iv)

L108. When determining whether or not there is a small business exemption, is it required that brokered sales of foods be included in determining gross sales for the business?
Answer: The agency defines brokered sales as the sale of foods shipped in bulk form that are not for distribution to consumers but are for use solely in the manufacture of other foods or that are to be processed, labeled, or repackaged at a site other than where originally processed or packed. Accordingly, any brokered sale would not need to be considered in determining eligibility for the small business exemption.

L109. A manufacturer who qualifies for a small business exemption sells his product to a large retailer who then repacks it in the deli and places it on self-service shelves. Is the product exempt from nutrition labeling if the retailer puts the small manufacturer's name on the product?
Answer: Yes. As long as the retailer is simply repacking the food into smaller containers and placing the small business's name and address on the packaged food (i.e., the package label bears no name or logo that would tie the product to the larger retailer), the food would retain any exemption it was eligible for under 21 CFR 101.9(j)(1) or (1icon_cool.gif.

L110. A small retailer purchases a bulk product from a large manufacturer and repacks the product for retail sale using the retailer's name and logo. Is the product exempt from nutrition labeling?
Answer: If the retailer is eligible for the exemption in 21 CFR 101.9(j)(1) (based on gross sales), product purchased from a large manufacturer but repacked by the retailer would be exempt from nutrition labeling, as long as the package label bears no name or logo that would tie the product to the manufacturer. However, to be eligible for the exemption in 21 CFR 101.9(j)(1icon_cool.gif, the product must meet the definition of low volume products (based on the total number of units of the product sold by the large manufacturer in the United States).

L111. What are the requirements for the exemption from nutrition labeling for a low volume food product?
Answer: The exemption for low volume food products is based on the average number of full time equivalent employees (FTE's) and the number of units of product sold in the United States.

L112. Do all firms need to file with FDA for a small business exemption?
Answer: No. Firms eligible for the exemption based on gross sales and firms with less than 10 FTE's and less than 10,000 units do not have to file with the FDA. However, such firms can choose to do so voluntarily in order to establish a record that they are claiming an exemption. Also, all importers must file. FD&C Act 403(q)(5)(E)(iii); 21 U.S.C. 343(q)(5)(E))iii); 21 CFR 101.9(j)(1) & (j)(1icon_cool.gif

L113. Do the small business exemptions apply to restaurants?
Answer: There is a separate exemption from nutrition labeling for foods sold in restaurants of any size, provided the food does not bear a claim (21 CFR 101.9(j)(2)). These foods do not need the small business exemptions. However, to the extent that a restaurant distributes food products for sale outside the restaurant (e.g., through grocery stores), such products may be eligible for an exemption from nutrition labeling under the small business exemptions.

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jason_kraft Posted 3 Oct 2011 , 4:34am
post #18 of 21

Actually it looks like businesses with annual sales of less than 10K units and less than 10 employees are exempt from FDA nutrition labeling laws (and filing FDA notices) unless they make a specific claim (like "sugar-free"). Business that sell less than 100K units annually and have less than 100 employees are also exempt from nutrition labeling laws, but they have to notify the FDA.

This is only for the Nutrition Facts part of the label, I believe an ingredient list is still required.

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MD888 Posted 4 Oct 2011 , 9:24pm
post #19 of 21


L54. Are mail order sales covered by the food labeling laws?
Answer: The same labeling laws apply to all categories of retail sale, including mail orders. Foods sold by mail order must be fully labeled.

So does mail orders must be fully labeled (I take this to mean nutrition & ingredients) apply even if you qualify for small business exemption (just ingredients)? I think internet sales are treated the same as mail orders. Might have to take payment over phone and local pick up & messenger service only. This would really limit sales.

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jason_kraft Posted 4 Oct 2011 , 9:30pm
post #20 of 21

Based on the phrase "The same labeling laws apply to all categories of retail sale", it would seem that the small business exemption that removes the requirements for nutrition facts would apply to mail order just like any other form of retail sale, but your local FDA rep should be able to confirm this.

Since the idea behind the small business exemption is to remove the most expensive labeling requirement -- nutrition facts -- it doesn't make much sense to have this requirement apply to those same small businesses for a mail order or internet order.

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MD888 Posted 4 Oct 2011 , 9:46pm
post #21 of 21

Jason: would seem so. Will contact local FDA office. Will let you know what I find.

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