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3 types of insulated food packaging to maintain freshness

David Mason: Last Updated 16th February 2024
Posted In: Guides and Advice | Transit Protection xx 31633

Keeping your products fresh and safe

Choosing the right packaging for food and beverages

Insulated food packaging is crucial if your business supplies frozen, chilled or ambient food and beverages. Similarly, if you supply food subscription boxes, you might be looking for a large volume of packaging with scalability in mind.

Insulated food packaging keeps perishable items fresh during transit to customers. Typically comprising an insulative liner in an outer cardboard box, widely used options include Sealed Air Temp Guard, RecycoolMe and Coolimate. Polystyrene and Styrofoam, whilst also effective, are increasingly being used less due to their environmental impact.

This blog explores the three most popular types of insulated food packaging, all of which can help you reduce spoilage (and damage), minimise shipping costs and improve customer satisfaction.


Food Packaging Regulations

Complying with health and safety standards

Before looking at options for insulated food packaging, it is essential to consider the rules and regulations surrounding the supply of food.

In fact, several food packaging regulations have been put in place to preserve the quality and safety of the food supplied to consumers. You’ll find rules throughout the production process through to delivery, all to avoid spoilage and contamination.

Regulations also vary by region. But, for Europe, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluate the materials for food packaging, their safety and compliance with EU regulations.

A magnifying glass with regulations written on a piece of paper on top.
Doing your own research on regulations will ensure you secure the right packaging and prevent any legalities on behalf of your business.

Food labelling, materials and the environment

Food Contact Materials (FCM) regulations may address issues like using recycled materials in packaging, using specific substances in adhesives or inks, and overall safety standards.

Food packaging materials should be clearly labelled to provide information to consumers. This labelling may include details about the materials used, recycling instructions, and specific warnings or handling instructions.

Packaging manufacturers are often required to adhere to good manufacturing practices (GMPs) to ensure the hygiene and safety of packaging materials. GMPs include maintaining clean and sanitary facilities to prevent contamination.

As environmental concerns grow, there are also regulations and guidelines related to the recyclability and sustainability of packaging materials. Some regions may require packaging to be easily recyclable, and they may set recycling targets for businesses.

Why does compliance matter?

It’s essential for food packaging manufacturers and businesses to stay informed about the specific regulations that apply to their products in their respective regions.

Compliance with these regulations not only ensures the safety of consumers but also protects businesses from potential legal and reputational issues.

Working with experts in food packaging and regulatory compliance can be invaluable in navigating these complex requirements.

Three types of insulated food packaging

Options for your food subscription business

Considering these regulations and your customers’ satisfaction (and well-being), it is vital to consider the insulated food packaging you use at your business.

As such, there are three commonly used options that may be a good fit for your business. The most popular insulated food packaging options are:

  • Sealed Air TempGuard.
  • RecycoolMe.
  • Coolimate.

Please continue reading for further details of each option and their key advantages and features.

Applications for temperature controlled packaging

Regardless of the option you choose, temperature controlled packaging has a range applications in the food packaging industry, including:

  • Food delivery services.
  • Online grocery retail.
  • Catering and event planning.
  • Speciality food producers.
  • eCommerce.
  • Pharmaceuticals.

Sealed Air TempGuard™

Sustainable food packaging solution

Sealed Air TempGuard™ is one of the leading insulated food packaging options available.

Sustainable by design, it provides an alternative to traditional food packaging materials, such as Styrofoam, which often ends up in landfills because end users cannot easily recycle it.

What is Sealed Air TempGuard™?

Sealed Air TempGuard™ is effectively recyclable paper fibres encased in a paper bag.

The air and paper combined enhance its ability as an insulative product that can sit within a standard outer cardboard box, offering additional protection to the contents.

Its design incorporates the ease of recyclability and instructions to the end user to place into their recycling box. It fits existing recycling systems, promoting a circular economy and reducing waste.

Sealed Air Tempguard
Sealed Air Tempguard insulated food packaging liner


Sealed Air has fully optimised TempGuard™ to be eco-friendly whilst not compromising performance, boasting a lower carbon footprint from manufacturing to recyclability.

The excellent insulation properties ensure that food remains at the desired temperature during transit, which is crucial for both food safety and customer satisfaction.

The versatility of Sealed Air TempGuard™ adds further benefits, with various sizes available to suit your products. The insulative material can provide additional cushioning against knocks during general handling and transit.

As for performance and regulatory compliance, Sealed Air TempGuard™ complies with food safety regulations and standards, giving businesses peace of mind regarding legal requirements.

Sealed Air TempGuard™ has not one but two certification standards, both ISTA 20 and ISTA 7E.

As such, Sealed Air TempGuard™ is a great example of how innovative technology can address the need for effective insulated food packaging and the growing demand for sustainability.

Close-up of the paper fibres within the chilled packaging pads.
A close-up of the paper fibres inside the insulated padding.


Sustainable insulative box liners

As another forward-thinking design focusing on sustainability, RecycoolMe is very similar to Sealed Air TempGuard™,

With few differences between the two, RecycoolMe offers all the benefits of Sealed Air TempGuard™ but without the certification standards.

What is RecycoolMe?

RecycoolMe utilises a unique composition of recyclable paper fibres enclosed in a paper-based bag.

This blend of air and paper greatly amplifies its insulating capabilities, allowing it to seamlessly integrate within a conventional outer cardboard box. The performance capability is equivalent to Sealed Air TempGuard™, meaning it also provides an extra layer of safeguarding for the contents it houses.

What sets RecycoolMe apart is its thoughtfully crafted design, which prioritises recyclability and user-friendliness. Users simply place it in their recycling bin with minimal instructions, ensuring a hassle-free recycling process.

This user-friendly approach minimises the risk of contamination and aligns perfectly with existing recycling systems.

In essence, RecycoolMe champions the principles of a circular economy and waste reduction, making sustainability easily accessible and efficient.

RecycoolMe inside with food and additional gel packs
An example of RecycoolMe being used for insulated food packaging


RecycoolMe excels in sustainability without sacrificing performance.

Fine-tuned to minimise its environmental impact, it boasts a reduced carbon footprint throughout its lifecycle, from production to recyclability.

Its exceptional insulation capabilities ensure your food items maintain their intended temperature during shipping. This performance is vital for food safety and ensuring your customers receive their orders in optimal condition, leading to heightened satisfaction.

Moreover, RecycoolMe’s adaptability is a standout feature. Available in various sizes to accommodate your specific product needs, its insulative material also doubles as effective cushioning, safeguarding your items against knocks and impacts during handling and transit.

RecycoolMe with veggies
Great for veggies too!


Insulative foil liners

CooliMate® isn’t fully recyclable due to the foil liner containing plastic elements. Still, it provides businesses with a cost-effective solution, particularly by positively impacting indirect costs. This includes reducing the need for chilled packaging gel packs and using less energy during refrigeration and transportation.

Foil insulated food packaging
Coolimate closeup with food inside.

A viable solution for addressing long term costs

It’s not just packaging that has a direct impact on the environment. For example, thermal efficiency to maintain a desired temperature can reduce the use of gel packs and energy-intensive shipping methods.

The efficiency level also extends the shelf-life of time-sensitive products, reducing shipping costs and indirectly reducing carbon footprint. Effectively, optimised thermal packaging can result in fewer lorries on the road with less energy-intensive equipment onboard.

Insulated food packaging liner
Close up of the foil for Coolimate.


Sourcing your temperature controlled packaging

By selecting the right insulated food packaging, you can reduce spoilage, damage, ongoing shipping costs and increase customer satisfaction.

At GWP Group, we can help you by providing both the cardboard outer and sustainable inner lining for your insulated food packaging. We have more than 30 years of experience in supplying insulated food packaging solutions and have a team of knowledgeable designers and engineers who focus on minimising the environmental impact of your packaging.

So, if you need help with insulated food packaging, please speak with one of our packaging experts.

Further Reading...

About the Author

David Mason, GWP Packaging

David Mason

Sales Director | GWP Packaging

David is Sales Director for GWP Packaging, having initially joined the company (then Great Western Packaging) back in 1990. [Read full bio…]

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