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What’s in a Gel Pack?

Gel packs are found everywhere, in homes, hospitals, schools, pharmacies and groceries. Their purposes can greatly vary, but most commonly, we know them for treating injuries and keeping our food cold. However, gel packs can be more practical than one can think of, for instance, in the cold chain industry, which is a crucial component in maintaining temperature range profiles.

Ice Packs and gel packs are used daily and at multiple times, some pharmacies and hospitals can use up to 10, 000 units daily, making gel packs a critical element in protecting temperature-sensitive products like vaccines and drugs. Typically, gel packs are made with temperature-sensitive ingredients which are sealed inside a protective malleable bag. If we’re talking about reusable ice packs, then these packs would contain water, propylene glycol, a thickening agent, silica gel and in some cases a non-toxic coloring agent. The water is usually used to help lower the freezing temperature, which can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on the type usage.

Advantages and Disadvantages of gel packs:


  • Reusable

  • Versatile

  • Cost effective and available everywhere

  • Can be used for both Cold and Hot purposes

  • Available in many sizes and shapes.

  • Long shelf life

  • Easy to maintain and clean


  • Needs time to be conditioned at the right temperature

  • Not best used for emergencies

Gel Packs are versatile and can be implemented in different cases. Whether it is for keeping fruits and vegetables, frozen food, vaccines, drugs, at a controlled temperature, utilizing gel packs and freezer packs are a universal and cost effective way to maintain consistent temperature for thermo-sensitive products. At the manufacturing point, storage facilities, and distribution centers, gel packs come in handy for maintaining the integrity of transported merchandise to the consumer.

Why using gel packs

  • Ensure potency of vaccines

  • Help maintain consistent temperatures

  • Ensure high quality products (food, i.e. fruits and vegetables)

  • Prolong shelf life

  • Help reduce browning

  • Ensure Viability

  • Pain reliever (Swelling, inflammation)

As shown, there are many advantages in using a gel pack, while other cooling systems and refrigerants exist, gel packs definitely take the throne for being a cheap, versatile and effective solution for a great number of uses. Funny enough, we can definitely say that gel packs have replaced frozen peas and hot bottles.

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