Why You Should Bring A Roll Of Bubble Wrap To The Grocery Store

Picture the moment of regret on a hot summer day when you make the trek down to the supermarket to pick up a cold pint of ice cream only to find out it has melted into a syrupy soup by the time you get home. The good news is you never have to face this heartbreak, as science presents a simple way to prevent this disaster from ever happening again. The simple solution? Bubble wrap. The insulation that bubble wrap provides can not only save frozen treats from a liquefied fate, it can also act as an all-purpose temporary refrigeration method to prevent all types of food from spoiling.

Ice cream can start to soften after only a couple of minutes, and refreezing melted ice cream will alter the taste and texture, resulting in a harder and less airy block of ice crystals that create unpleasant freezer burn. Couple that with the risk of bacteria forming on the melted dessert and you can see why it's probably best to transport your ice cream (and other frozen foods) with care.

How insulation works

Grocery freezer bags and insulated shopping bags provide a cool shelter for food on the journey to the kitchen fridge, but it's more difficult (not to mention more expensive) to acquire these in a pinch. Bubble wrap has the benefit of giving a second life to a seemingly useless piece of trash that everyone who has ever received a package in the mail is intimately familiar with. That's because the air pockets that give the bubble wrap its name act as an insulator to prevent heat from encroaching on whatever it's wrapped around (so no satisfying popping of the bubbles, unfortunately). 

It's similar to the way fiberglass traps air within its woolly layers so that heat has a harder time flowing through walls, keeping homes cooler during the summer and warmer during the winter. Anything else that can trap air also works to keep heat from traveling, as well. Think of the cardboard paper that baristas wrap coffee cups in, preventing the beverage from burning your hand, or the down feathers that winter coats are packed with to keep body heat inside.

Bubble wrap is your lifesaver for frozen food shopping

Bringing a roll of bubble wrap with you to the grocery store can keep outside heat from melting ice cream, thawing out frozen food, and warming up refrigerated beverages. You can wrap individual items or simply just line your bag with the bubble wrap, a trick that has obvious benefits on hot days but also works well to protect groceries when turning the heat on in your car during the winter. The life hack is also handy outside of the supermarket, such as when transporting food to potluck dinners, barbecues, or any other sort of gathering.

It may take a couple of extra seconds to snuggle your groceries in bubble wrap, but it might be worth it to make the trip back home a lot less stressful. Gone are the days of trying to speed through traffic, walk at a brisker pace carrying heavy bags, and neglecting to add an extra stop to your errand list. You can rest your head easy on a nice, comfy pillow of bubble wrap knowing that your precious cargo will remain cold.