A couple of weeks ago, we got our first interest from a distributor in South East Asia.
The end goal for our project has always been to be global, so we're pretty keen to start learning about how to work with overseas importers & distributors, a topic fairly new to us (in Aus we sell directly to retailers).
First thing they wanted was a couple of cartons shipped over to taste and try out. Seemed easy but when I checked the temperatures there saw that the highs are already above 30 degrees, well above the melting point for chocolate. So sending it "ambient" wouldn't work.
So that got us exploring different options to send cooled, and turns out there are lots of different approaches and materials, each with their own pros and cons in terms of effectiveness, size, sustainability, cost, regulations etc.
For this first shipment, based on a suggestion on a Food Business Australia group, decided to try out a metalised foil bubble wrap, with gel pack for cooling.
It cost $69 to buy a big 50 meter roll of the foil wrap from a local supplier, and $53 for a carton of 44 300g gel packs, so roughly an extra $1.50 to the cost of each carton, which is pretty reasonable. And the bubblewrap and gel packs can be reused as well which is nice.
Given the shorter journey, decided to skip the foam box, and just packed them into a standard auspost cardboard box sealed up with tape. All up it cost just under $100 to send the cartons (around 6kg) which isn't cheap, but didn't want to take chances with a lower cost but slower international service.. (may try that next time)
We sent the cartons out on a Friday and it arrived to their office by the Monday thankfully intact
ps - figuring out the best options in different scenarios is definitely going to be a fun long term exercise with much testing and experimenting to do...