How Perishable Goods Get To You Fast and Fresh

close-up photo of small containers filled with tomatoes

Before the 19th century, the perishable goods you could enjoy depended upon the season and where you lived. But refrigeration changed all of that. Fast forward to 2022 and the refrigerated transport industry is on track to reach $7.6 billion.

Want to learn more about how perishable products stay fresh while moving from place-to-place? We’ve got you covered, so keep reading to find out.

Historical Refrigeration

To start with, let’s touch on how refrigeration began.

Way back in history, ancient cultures like the Hebrews, Greeks, and Persians harvested ice as a means to keep foods fresh longer. They stored the ice in caves or pits and used natural materials as insulation. Ice houses were still in use in the early 1900s, and many people made a living by cutting ice from local lakes.

Although he wasn’t the first to experiment with refrigeration, Jacob Perkins was the first to patent a refrigeration system in 1834. Many others followed, inventing different types of cooling systems.

In 1911, domestic refrigerators were finally available in the United States. Refrigerated vehicles followed in the middle of the twentieth century. How far we’ve come!

Control Factors for Keeping Goods Fresh

Keeping perishables such as fruits, meats, and flowers fresh during transport requires careful regulation of two main factors: time and temp.

1. Time

Perishable products have a short lifespan because of their physiological characteristics. They need to get to the final consumer as fast as possible.

2. Holding Temperature

From harvest to final delivery, preservation of perishables depends on keeping a consistent optimal temperature, not too hot or too cold. This process is the cold chain.

Falling short on either of these can mean huge losses and health risks. You can see why the right kind of delivery vehicles are so important in this business. So, let’s look at the types of temperature-controlled vehicles used for delivering perishables.

Types of Vehicles Used

Whether it’s the delivery of a hot meal, flowers for that special someone, or frozen meat for your next barbecue, you want it to arrive perfectly fresh. However, there are several different types of vehicles that make it possible.


These types of vehicles transport produce, floral arrangements, and baked goods. 


These trucks haul meats, ice cream, and other frozen foods. Freezer trucks use mechanized cooling.


Isothermal vans limit air exchange between the inside and the outside of the vehicle. Unique walls and doors isolate the product inside—this setup keeps warm outer air from mixing with the air inside.

Temperature-controlled vehicles allow for continuous temperature regulation and monitoring. The temperature is directly controllable by the person operating the vehicle, rather than left up to chance like when shipping through a 3rd party. For this reason, local companies are better off delivering perishable products themselves using a food delivery truck.

Federal Regulations for Perishable Goods

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, the FDA set guidelines for the transportation of food for humans and animals. The act includes rules for perishable food delivery trucks, transportation operations, and accurate record-keeping. Rest assured, these types of rules and regulations ensure food safety and the control of contamination during transportation.

What’s the Bottom Line?

To our advantage, what started as ice and straw evolved into high-tech coolers on wheels. Perishable goods need to maintain a specific temperature from production to delivery to stay fresh. Efficient delivery times and refrigeration are the answer.

For more information on perishable delivery options, check out our refrigerated solutions.