October 06, 2022


Shipping delicate cargo? That’s a delicate subject.

If you’re in the business of shipping perishables to all corners of the world, it helps to have a trusted partner in your corner. That was the situation with Commodity Forwarders Inc. and Ernest. The problem? How do you keep everything from orchids to arugula to langoustine shrimp within a 10° range for upwards of 20 hours? If you get it wrong as a shipping company, you’re done. They needed to keep their goods fresh, their costs down and up their sustainability game. And we were up for the challenge.

When protective becomes defective.

Unlike Throwback Thursdays or your favorite old school movie, it was not fun taking a walk down the memory lane of packaging. So it started by taking a look at what CFI was currently using to ship their perishables. Turns out, CFI was using the same Mylar technology from back in the 1970s, which prompted their President Chris Connell to think, “After 40 years, there has to be a better way.” The old foil bubble only refracted 80% of visible and infrared energy, plus it wasn’t recyclable. Chris and CFI needed a solution that was more efficient, generated less food waste and was eco-friendly, too.

An unperishable partnership.

Throughout their 10-year partnership, CFI and Ernest have established a real connection. With that also comes an open and honest line of communication. Which meant Chris was able to cut to the chase with Ernest’s R&D Manager, Larry French. In short, he asked Larry to help him come up with something better. After collaborating on solutions, they arrived at the conclusion that the Mylar was actually trapping heat inside the pallets, rather than reflecting it away. So Larry set of to find a smarter, science-based solution.

Observe and refract.

There were two question at hand. 1) What material would maximize performance and minimize costs? 2) What would deliver the highest light refraction with the least physical substance? The answer was a combination of both in the form of one compound word: TempEndure®. Larry and team created a wrap coating that worked as an optical lends to block all visible light and the majority of near-infrared waves (or NIR for the all the science-y folks who are reading this). It also acts as a vapor barrier, which was another imperative for CFI to keep products fresher and clients happier across the globe.

 The flight testing and the groundwork.

The next step was to put the product to the test and fortunately for Larry, CFI was all on board on getting the new TempEndure-wrapped pallets on board the planes and testing them on the tarmac. The result? Through a process of trial and error, they found the exact material to keep good between a 1 and 10° Celsius range for up to 24 hours. To fight the searing temperatures of the tarmac, they also created an integrated system to ensure  the perishables stayed at a constant while protect against the oppressive heat. So there was just one more box to check: the recycling box.

Going green with a blue hue.

Not only was the old Mylar material clogging up the dumpsters, it was also costing CFI $186, 000 per year for disposal fees in just their Hawaii facility alone. Not to mention the environmental cost of all that waste when it came to Mother Nature. The new TempEndure solution changed all of that for the better, proving to be a wholly recyclable solution. To celebrate this fact and to express their commitment to sustainability, all TempEndure products for CFI have a signature blue hue and are branded with the international sign for recyclability.

 A sustainable alliance.

As CFI continues to makes strides for protecting perishables at all their distribution centers around the world, we’ll be right there by their side, stateside. We can’t wait to help continue to up the sustainability factor and to find even smarter ways to keep goods—and our partnership—at a constant.