CASE STUDY Lil’ Ponderosa Beef

Compared to insulating a vehicle and upfitting it with a roof-mounted refrigeration unit, we spent $10,000 to $15,000 less on a standard van and a Coldtainer. The reliability of theportable container has also been great. We’ve never had an issue since we’ve owned it and it doesn’t require maintenance. The Coldtainer is a simple solution that meets our refrigerated and frozen transport needs at a much lower cost.

Bob Boyce, Lil’ Ponderosa Beef


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Bob and Kate Boyce founded Lil’ Ponderosa Beef in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1986 with a herd of purebred Angus stock. The growing business now includes a slaughterhouse in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Today, Lil’ Ponderosa Beef delivers fresh and frozen products to meat shops, restaurants and farm markets across eastern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.


For Lil’ Ponderosa Beef, selling only fresh beef to retail stores and restaurants requires the ability transport refrigerated and frozen products during routine scheduled deliveries as far as 100 miles from its facilities. The operation also needs to meet storage needs at catering locations.

Lil’ Ponderosa Beef needed a simple, reliable and flexible solution to replace its 1990’s pickup truck and bed mounted refrigeration unit but the added cost of insulating a van and upfitting it with a refrigeration unit was projected at $10,000 to $15,000.


Three years ago, Lil’ Ponderosa Beef replaced its aging and unreliable truck and refrigeration equipment with a Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van and a Coldtainer MODEL # and CAPACITY front opening model. The only modification made to the van to accommodate the Coldtainer was to install a weatherproof plug connection on the outside of the vehicle to power the unit when the vehicle is parked at the operation’s facility or during catering events.

Coldtainer portable containers are a highly versatile solution for the transportation of perishable goods that require precise temperature control and freeze protection. Available in front opening or top loading models in a range of capacities and with numerous cooling, freezing and heating options, Coldtainers can use battery, shore and solar power sources on vehicles and at facilities to operate on AC or DC power.

Equipped with refrigeration units designed to withstand vibrations related to vehicle use, Coldtainer stand-alone containers are made from highly durable molded polyethylene and food-grade materials, are easy to clean and are in compliance with health and safety standards.

All Coldtainer temperature controlled models feature an integrated battery monitor and a user-friendly digital display to view temperature and status, and for precise temperature set point control. The portable cooling containers also record temperatures and have a mobile Bluetooth capability for downloading data to meet recordkeeping requirements.


The cost, simplicity and flexibility of a Coldtainer portable, standalone container compared to other options makes it ideal for the delivery operation at Lil’ Ponderosa Beef, and for catering services where it can be plugged in and operated for an entire event.

Compared to the added cost of insulating a vehicle and upfitting it with a roof-mounted refrigeration unit, Lil’ Ponderosa Beef spent $10,000 to $15,000 less on a standard van and a Coldtainer unit.

The standard cargo van commands a higher resale or trade in value than a used insulated vehicle with a refrigeration unit because it hasn’t been modified. The Coldtainer unit can also be transferred simply and easily into another van or resold as a standalone asset if a larger vehicle and unit are needed.

Coldtainer installs with only four floor attachments and its slide-in design makes it easy to install or remove with a forklift by two people in 30 minutes or less.

Lil’ Ponderosa Beef has not had any downtime related to the Coldtainer and the portable refrigerated container does not require maintenance.