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Sweet developments in insulated packagingSweet developments in insulated packaging

Linda Casey

March 11, 2015

7 Min Read
Sweet developments in insulated packaging
Jubilations Cheesecakes

A custom-molded lid is fitted over a frozen cheesecake.

Sweet developments

Jubilations Cheesecakes, Columbus, MS, takes a hand-crafted approach to the baking of its cheesecakes, but the bakery's marketing and packaging is decidedly more high-tech. The bakery uses e-mail newsletters, Facebook and Google AdWords to promote the company Website, in addition to more traditional marketing such as local radio commercials.

This marketing approach enables Jubilations to reach prospective customers beyond its home state. “We are in a relatively small town in a very small space of Mississippi,” Jubilations' vp George Purnell explains. “There are between 2.5 to 3 million people in our state. Some cities are bigger than this.”

Jubilations cheesecakes leverages the R&D capabilities of its suppliers

Sweet developments

Nationwide sales do present shipping challenges, though. Ground shipments to some areas, such as the West Coast, can take up to three days. Initially, Jubilations addressed this problem by shipping frozen cakes via one-day air.

“Five or six years ago fuel wasn't a very expensive commodity,” says Purnell. “Today it is. Simply because of the cost of fuel, air shipment can cost more than a cheesecake we're shipping.”

Delving deep into operations

Jubilations addressed its shipping costs concerns with its local United Parcel Service of America Inc. (UPS) representative, who contacted the UPS Customer Solutions Package Lab in Addison, IL.

“The UPS representative for Jubilations contacted us about decreasing Jubilations' dimensional rate,” recalls Matthew Robke, a packaging engineer for UPS Customer Solutions.

Soon, UPS was delving deep into Jubilations' business to help the bakery optimize its packaging. “UPS did three things for us,” Purnell remarks:Jubilations new single-cake shipper is made from polyurethane, which offers better thermal resistance

Sweet developments

  1. UPS sent two representatives to Jubilations' location in Mississippi. The representatives sought to understand the intricacies of the bakery's business and helped educate Jubilations on UPS' business.

  2. Using its dimensional weight requirements, UPS' packaging engineers, who also are Certified Packaging Laboratory Professionals, helped Jubilations optimize the shapes and densities of its packed cheesecakes to lower shipping costs.

  3. UPS also recommended shipping materials and suppliers for consultation. “Then working jointly with those suppliers, UPS offered its packaging labs to find the R-value, the insulation value, of the different materials that we chose for our packages,” Purnell explains.

Preparing for the worst
Preparing for the worst

The product in its original packaging was thermal tested in UPS' 7,000 sq-ft Intl Safe Transit Assn (ISTA)-certified lab in Addison, IL. Lab engineers used an Envirotronics Walk-in Test Chamber to create heat and humidity simulations to ISTA Cold Chain Environmental Standards. For Jubilations' packaging, they selected an ISTA 70 summer profile, which they determined to be a worst-case scenario. Engineers then measured how long before a frozen cake in this environment would thaw to a product temperature below 40 deg F. Degradation of the cold chain with the original packaging occurred 52 hours after pack out.

Material suggestions

UPS went back to Jubilations with its findings and immediately made two suggestions:

Use high-density expanded polystyrene (EPS) for the multiple cake shipper, which would offer better insulation than regular EPS and would enable Jubilations to reduce the wall thickness from three in. to two

Consider the use of dry ice and gel-packs to keep the single shipper cool.

Jubilations took these suggestions to its suppliers—Drew Foam Companies Inc. and Sealed Air Corp. Drew Foam Companies took the UPS suggestion and changed the material used for Jubilations' multi-cake shipper. Sealed Air, instead, suggested its single-shipper cooler— Instapak® TempGuard™ Cold Chain Packaging—and offered to have its own research and development facilities work with UPS on the solution.

Sealed Air has seven different packaging, design and development centers in the U.S. and 35 worldwide. Engineers use Revware Inc.'s MicroScribe digitizers to electronically measure customer product size and shape., andRhinoceros (developed by McNeel North America)or SolidWorks (developed by Dassault Systèmes) to create 3D CAD drawings. A CNC router aids in the manufacture of prototypes.

Addresses are verified as deliverable by Jubllations integrated customer data system

Sweet developments

A custom-molded cooler made from polyurethane was designed to snugly fit the cakes and slow down sublimation of the dry ice thus maximizing the efficacy of the dry ice used to cool the single-cake shipper.

For quick pack-out, the coolers are kitted by Sealed Air into corrugated cases, which are supplied by Jubilations and printed by Pratt Industries Inc.

Optimizing packing

A worker prepares a cake for shipment by first placing it on a paperboard circle and wrapping it in bakery paper. Wrapped cakes are placed in dome containers, supplied by Wilkinson Industries. Nutritional labels are printed using a Datamax-O'Neil device and placed on the bottom of the dome containers. The logo is applied to the top of a dome container using a preprinted label, supplied by Weatherall Printing Co.

A prescribed amount of dry ice is placed in a specially molded compartment in the cooler. The cake is placed into the cooler, and the worker replaces the lid.

If the worker is preparing a low-volume order, he or she hand seals the shipper. Larger orders are case-sealed mechanically by a stand alone 3M machine. Shipping labels are created by a Zebra Technologies printer.

With its new packaging in place, the rich cheesecakes can continue to be enjoyed by consumers both near and far from the bakery's Southern home despite increasing fuel costs.

More information is available:

United Parcel Service of America Inc., 800/742-5877. www.ups.com

Sealed Air Corp., 800/568-6636. www.sealedair.com/instapak_home.htm

3M., 888/364-3577. http://3m.com

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., 800/693-9000. www.solidworks.com

Datamax-O'Neil, 407/578-8007. www.datamaxcorp.com

Drew Foam Companies Inc., 800/643-1206. www.drewfoam.com

Envirotronics Inc., 800/368-4768. www.envirotronics.com

McNeel N.A., 206/545-7000. www.rhino3d.com

Pratt Industries Inc., 770/918-5678. www.prattindustries.com

Revware Inc., 919/790-0000. www.revware.net

Weatherall Printing Co., 800/273-6043. www.weatherallprinting.com

Wilkinson Industries Inc., 800/456-4519. www.wilkinsonindustries.com

Zebra Technologies, 866/230-9494. www.zebra.com

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