The ButcherBox Dry Ice team with their keys to our new Dry Ice Facility in Muscatine, Iowa

Our Supply Chain Journey: Making Dry Ice

Last Updated on June 29, 2022

Our goal is to ship only the highest-quality meats to our valued members. To be able to do that safely and efficiently, there are many complicated operational logistics. One of the most important ones is keeping the meat frozen.  

This is where Dry Ice comes in.  

Every single box is shipped with a pre-calculated amount of dry ice to ensure all items stay cold enough to make it to members and to maintain the high-quality deliciousness of our meats. In 2020, pandemic-related supply chain issues affected dry ice production, limiting our dry ice supply. Embodying our core value of relentless improvement, we set out to find a more reliable dry ice source: ourselves. After months of research and planning, we proudly opened our very own dry ice facility in Oklahoma City in the Summer of 2021. 

To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we sat down with Maria Butters, ButcherBox’s senior director of dry ice, to chat about how investing in a dry ice facility has enabled the company to better pursue our mission of changing the meat industry. “ButcherBox made the decision that this is the first place we want to invest because it was mission critical,” she said. “The supply chain for dry ice is pretty short… so unless you own your ability to manufacture dry ice, you do not own your destiny.”  

A Florida native, Maria joined ButcherBox in late 2021 from Publix Super Markets. While serving as the Director of Facility Services for Publix, she learned more about manufacturing, and fell in love with production management. “When you work in a production environment, regardless of what you’re making, you have the opportunity to put your hands on your product and see how your product influences the lives of others,” she said. Being able to see the impact of her production work is what drew her to ButcherBox. “When I open my Butcher Box, I see the dry ice that our facility has made. Just being able to see how we’re able to contribute to food safety is just incredible.”  

And what a contribution they make! To make dry ice, you need liquefied carbon dioxide and then freeze it into solid ice — yep, it’s as easy as it sounds. In addition to keeping pre-packaged food cool, dry ice is used in the medical and construction industries to keep medical equipment, test samples, COVID vaccines, organs, and asphalt at their required temperature. Beyond keeping things cool, dry ice can also be used to make fog for concerts or Halloween celebrations when it is combined with hot water. According to the Global Dry Ice Market Research Report 2021-2026, the global Dry Ice market — which grossed $881 million in 2020 — is expected to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2026. 

Maria’s dry ice production team produces an average of 111,000 pounds of dry ice every day.   

Given the success of the first dry ice facility, ButcherBox has decided to open a second facility in Muscatine, Iowa set to open this summer. While expressing her enthusiasm about beginning the hiring process at the new facility, Maria spoke to why prospective employees should apply to ButcherBox.  

She discussed how working in production, especially to produce something that is absolutely essential, has been a rewarding experience for her. She added that ButcherBox’s intention to better the meat business keeps her coming back to work. “This concept of regenerative agriculture — providing meat that is better for our families, better for our bodies and better for our planet — it just really resonated with me,” she said. “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to help change the world.”   

Everyone at ButcherBox is very excited about the grand opening of the Muscatine dry ice facility and the future of our dry ice operations for the company. “We are uniquely poised to be able to support ButcherBox in whichever way we decide to grow,” Maria explained. Visit the ButcherBox Careers page if you too would like to be involved in making a better, more sustainable meat industry 111,000 pounds of dry ice at a time.  

Kathryn Cloonan is the Copywriting Intern at ButcherBox for the Summer of 2022. She is a student at Williams College majoring in English with a background in marketing, journalism, and creative writing.