Is your company looking at shipping cold or frozen foods? It doesn’t matter how tasty your products are if they aren’t kept at the appropriate temperature during shipping. You need to make sure your cold or frozen foods are packed to stay cold throughout shipping, so that they arrive fresh and ready to eat.
You need to make sure your cold or frozen food stays at the right temperature, and you need to get it where it’s going quickly. Here’s how to pack your perishable products properly and get them to their destinations quickly.
Ship Perishables Fast
Dry ice may only last 18 to 36 hours in a shipping container. Gel packs can only effectively keep food cold for about as long. So it makes sense that you’d want to use the fastest shipping option to get your frozen or cold food to its destination within about 30 hours. Overnight shipping is the best option for cold and frozen foods.
Pack Perishable Goods with a Refrigerant
You will need to pack your cold and frozen foods with a refrigerant to keep it cold or frozen during shipping. Foods that need to be kept frozen, like ice cream or frozen meat, should be shipped with dry ice. You can ship up to five pounds of dry ice through the U.S. postal system. Other freight carriers have their own rules about how much dry ice you can ship. Dry ice releases gas instead of water when it melts, so you can’t pack it in an airtight container. You’ll also have to write “dry ice” on the outside of the package. You should wear gloves to handle dry ice, and keep it from touching your food products.
Foods that only need to be kept cold should be shipped with cooling gel packs. You can use gel packs to cool foods like live seafood, fresh meat, fruit, and cheese. Gel packs will sweat as they warm up, so it’s important to make sure you include an absorbent pad to catch the moisture, as well as lining the outer cardboard package to keep it from getting soggy.
Use the Right Packaging and Shipping Supplies
You need the right shipping supplies to ship most cold and frozen foods effectively. Most foods that need to stay cold or frozen should be placed in a styrofoam shipping cooler – the thicker the sides of the cooler, the longer your refrigerant will last. If you’re using gel packs, place an absorbent pad in the bottom of the cooler to absorb any moisture that might leak out of them.
Wrap your food in watertight packaging, unless you’re shipping live seafood. If you’re shipping live seafood, make sure the animals can get some air or they will suffocate. Pack your dry ice in with the food, leaving it room to breathe and keeping it from touching the food. Gel packs can be packed all around the food. Put a temperature indicator in the package if you need to monitor the food’s temperature at all points in the shipping process.
You don’t want your package contents sliding around and getting damaged, so make sure you pack them inside the cooler in such a way that they can’t slide around. You might use molded containers or pieces of bubble wrap to cushion items inside the cooler. You will need to put the cooler into an outer cardboard box. Outside the cooler, use styrofoam planks, air pillows, or bubble wrap to keep the cooler from sliding around inside the outer box. If you’re using gel packs, line the outer box with plastic.
You may need very different packing materials, depending on what it is you’re sending. Ice cream could be pretty straightforwardly tucked into a styrofoam cooler with five pounds of dry ice, but a frosted and elaborately decorated cake takes something a little more specialized. Don’t hesitate to use packaging materials that are tailored for shipping your specific product. A fitted mailer might be just the right thing to keep your food item in the best condition until it reaches the customer.
If you want to ship cold and frozen food items, and have them arrive in good shape, you need to make sure you’re doing everything right. Package your items with the right refrigerant, spring for the overnight shipping, and use the expensive fitted mailers to protect your items in shipping. That way, you can keep your customers happy and ship more orders than ever.