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How Much Does It Cost to Ship Ice Cream?

Shipping ice cream might seem like a cool idea, but before you send that frozen treat on a journey, it's essential to know how much it will cost. In this blog, we'll break down the factors that influence the cost of shipping ice cream, so you can plan your shipment without any surprises.

The Cost of Shipping Ice Cream: A Detailed Breakdown

Due to its temperature sensitivity, ice cream shipping is a meticulous task that involves several cost considerations. Let's dive in and discover the costs associated with delivering these frozen shipments:

1) Packaging Costs


shipping box with insulated liners inside
Credit: Nice Packs


The first step in shipping ice cream is to ensure it arrives at its destination in perfect condition. This means using specialized packaging materials. Here's a breakdown of the packaging costs:

  • Insulated Packaging Boxes: To maintain the frozen state of your ice cream products, you'll need to use an insulated corrugated cardboard box. These typically range in cost from $2 to $6 each, depending on their size and quality. If your ice cream products contain additional ingredients such as chocolate chips, you'll also need supplementary insulating materials like Styrofoam boxes, which typically start at $10.
  • Dry Ice: When it comes to shipping ice cream, regular ice does not cut it. You need to use dry ice to maintain a low temperature during transit. The cost of dry ice varies, but on average, it's around $1 to $3 per pound. The amount you need will depend on the distance and the duration of shipping. As an alternative, you can also opt for gel packs, which typically cost around $1 to $4 per pack.

2) Shipping Cost


truck picking up shipping boxes
Credit: Envato Elements/ iLixe48

Choosing the right shipping method is a crucial decision that affects both the cost and the condition of your ice cream when it reaches its destination. Here are common options to consider along with their costs:

  • Standard Ground Shipping: If you're shipping frozen foods like ice creams locally or regionally, standard ground shipping is a cost-effective option. Prices vary, but they typically start at $10 and can go up based on distance and weight.
  • Express Shipping: When time is of the essence, express shipping offers quicker delivery but comes at a higher cost. Expect to allocate around $20 or more for express services.
  • Overnight Shipping: When you need to deliver ice cream quickly, overnight shipping is available but comes with a premium price tag, often starting at $30 or higher.

3) Carrier Charges


delivery man standing and smiling
Credit: Envato Elements/ benzoix

Carriers play an integral role in the ice cream shipping process. Charges differ among companies like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and the U.S. Postal Service. For instance:

  • FedEx: Their cold shipping package starts at approximately $20 for local shipping. Prices can rise significantly based on distance and weight.
  • UPS: UPS offers specific perishable handling services, and charges might begin around $25 for shorter routes with increases based on similar factors like weight and distance.
  • DHL: Known for international shipping, DHL rates can start from $30 and can escalate based on country-specific regulations and the specifics of the shipment.
  • U.S. Postal Service: Their flat-rate shipping options might be a viable choice for smaller ice cream shipments, with costs starting from $15.

4) Permit and Regulations


delivery trucks being approved to cross border
Credit: Envato Elements/ iLixe48

Shipping ice cream, particularly across state lines, requires adherence to certain food safety regulations and possibly obtaining specific permits. These regulations ensure that food items remain safe for consumption throughout the shipping process. The costs associated with obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to regulations can vary widely based on local and federal laws. Here’s a breakdown of some potential costs you might encounter:

  • Food Handler's License: Before shipping ice cream, obtaining a food handler's license is essential. The costs for this license range from $100 to $500, depending on the state.
  • Business License: A business license, which costs between $75 to $500, may also be required.
  • FDA Registration: If you plan on shipping ice cream across state lines, registering with the FDA is a mandatory step. This registration is free but adhering to FDA guidelines might incur costs in ensuring your facilities and shipping processes are up to standard.
  • State Permits: Individual states may have additional permits or fees. For instance, California has a Milk Processing Plant License which costs around $100 annually.
  • Inspection Fees: Routine inspections of your facilities by local health departments or federal agencies might also be part of the regulatory landscape. The costs of such inspections can range from $100 to $1000 or more.
  • Insurance: Insurance to cover liabilities related to food safety might also be a requisite. The costs for insurance coverage can vary widely based on the provider and the level of coverage.


Shipping ice cream can be quite a costly endeavor due to the specialized packaging and expedited shipping required to keep it frozen. The costs can add up quickly, particularly when shipping long distances or in large quantities. By understanding the various factors that contribute to the cost, you can make informed decisions and potentially find ways to mitigate some of these expenses.

And when it comes to preserving your ice cream's chilly journey, consider investing in Nice Packs, the ultimate solution for keeping your frozen treats frosty and delicious throughout shipping. With Nice Packs' high-quality dry ice packs, whether it's an ice cream cake or chocolate ice cream, your ice cream products are in safe hands, ensuring they reach their destination just as cool as when they departed. Shop with us today!

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