If you want to ship perishable or frozen foods, you can’t just toss them in a box and cross your fingers. Keeping perishable items cold or frozen during shipment can be a challenge, but it’s one that’s easy enough to meet if you have the right packing materials and ship your goods fast enough.
You need to pack perishable foods with dry ice or gel packs, and include enough insulation in your package to keep the cold in and keep any moisture from damaging the packaging. Keep in mind that most perishable foods have an ideal temperature they should be maintained at. Use packing materials wisely to make sure that your goods aren’t damaged in transit, and make sure you’re following shipping regulations related to the use of dry ice in shipments.
Pack Foods So That They Stay At Their Optimal Temperature
Every perishable food, from ice cream to cupcakes to live seafood, has an optimal temperature they need to remain at to stay good. You will need to pack your shipment in an insulated box, with dry ice or gel packs, to keep it at the right temperature.
Dry ice is appropriate for goods that need to remain frozen, while gel packs are ideal for goods that need to remain just cold. If you’re shipping with dry ice, remember that there may be limits on how much dry ice you can ship – the US Postal Service currently allows shipments to contain only 5 pounds of dry ice.
Even when you’re using gel packs or dry ice, you still need to insulate your food items inside the packaging. You can buy foam coolers for items that need to stay frozen or cool, such as ice cream, frozen cakes, or live seafood.
Make sure to put your coolant inside the cooler with the food, before packing up the whole thing in a sturdy outer box with additional padding around the outside, such as thermal bubble wrap or more planks of foam insulation. Insulating coolers are available in a range of thicknesses; the thicker the cooler, the less coolant you will need to pack inside of it. Include a temperature indicator inside your package so both you and the recipient can be confident that the food remained at the optimal temperature throughout shipping.
Use Packing Materials To Keep Food Safe In Transit
Temperature isn’t the only thing you need to consider when you’re packing perishable foods for shipping. You need to pack your food to keep out heat and protect the packaging and contents from any moisture that seeps out of your gel packs.
If you’re shipping baked goods, it’s wise to wrap them individually in shrink wrap or plastic wrap. Insert candy sticks into the top of cakes and cupcakes to keep the lid of the container from squishing the frosting. Use a molded tray for large soft fruits like peaches and pears, to keep them from getting bruised in transit. Enclose other items in a watertight plastic bag, unless it’s live seafood – live seafood needs to be shipped in an open bag so that the animals can breathe.
Line the outer cardboard box in plastic and place an absorbent mat in the bottom to soak up any water that might leak out of your gel packs. If you’re shipping frozen goods with dry ice as a coolant, make sure not to wrap the dry ice up – it needs to be able to offgas carbon dioxide and if those gases are trapped inside the package, they could build up and damage the contents or the packaging itself.
Ship Your Cold Or Frozen Foods Quickly
There’s a limit to how long food will stay cold, even when shipped with gel packs or dry ice. You want to get your shipment to its destination in less than 30 hours. Use the fastest shipping option available to make it happen, or risk your food spoiling in transit and your recipient being displeased. Overnight shipping is ideal for frozen foods and perishables like live seafood and ice cream, but you can probably get away with two-day shipping for less perishable items like fruit or cakes and cookies.
If you want to successfully ship perishable and frozen foods, you need to use the right packing materials to keep them cold in transit, and ship them fast so they get there before their coolant has run out. When you package your cold and frozen foods properly for shipping, your customers will have the chance to enjoy your goods as they were meant to be enjoyed – and your business will thrive because of it.
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