From meal prep plans to sending treats to your loved ones, shipping food is something everyone has either gone through or was on the receiving end. It’s not as easy as sending a simple package. However, today’s technology has made it easier than ever to send food to your customers or loved ones. In this article, we discuss what to consider when shipping food, and what steps you might need to take to make sure it makes its recipient safe and sound.
What kind of food are you shipping?
You need to consider what type of food your sending. You might run into extra steps to make sure your item is perfectly preserved when it hits your recipient’s doorstep. It can be as simple as finding the best box to hold your items or as extreme as finding the right refrigerant to keep your items cold or frozen.
Baked goods can be a great gift for people that receive them. For baked goods that don’t require refrigeration, packaging can be very similar to packaging a glass picture frame. How? Like a glass picture frame, you need to make sure your items are packed securely and have little movement during shipping.
Every baked good needs to be wrapped to make sure it stays fresh. For cakes and pies, you can use shrink wrap to seal in the freshness. For cookies, you have a few ways to keep the freshness sealed. You can use a tin and individually wrap your cookies in wax paper, “The Grandma Method,” or you use a little plastic baggie to individually wrap your cookies or “The Baggy Method.”
Once you’ve chosen your method, you can now pack your box. This is the important part of the packing journey. Baked goods are delicate and require little to no movement during shipment. To protect the precious cargo, you need to think about the infill. Your infill can reduce movement during shipping and can protect your baked goods if bumps and scratches occur.
Fruit and Vegetables
Similar to baked goods, extra protection is needed when shipping fruit and vegetables. Why? Fruits or vegetables that are bruised can be a turnoff for anyone that receives them. Plus, bruised produce can reduce its freshness. So, it’s important to find an appropriate sized box and the best infill that reduces movement during shipment.
Temperature is an important factor when shipping produce. It’s important to check the weather of the area your package will be traveling through. For example, a hotter region will reduce the timeframe of freshness for your produce. If the ripeness window is a concern, freezing your produce is an option. And when it’s time to send off your package, don’t forget to add ‘Perishable’ to your box to ensure that the carrier knows.
Shipping frozen food can be tricky. But, it’s not impossible. You just need the right materials to ensure that it makes it to your customer or loved one still frozen.
You need to find the right coolant to make sure your package remains cool and temperature controlled. For FedEx, they recommend gel coolants over wet ice. If you use wet ice, be sure to double bag your items to make sure your package doesn’t leak.
Once the coolants are picked and frozen to the correct temperature, an insulated container is a must. An insulated container will help keep your shipment at the correct temperature and also keep your outer shipping box safe and dry. Place the coolants inside the insulated container and around your frozen food. The remaining space in your box should be packed with infill to make sure the products don’t move around during shipping.
Finally, you can place your frozen insulated box and food into the corrugated box. From here, you need to make sure the appropriate labels are placed on the box, like arrows, ‘Perishables,’ and dry ice warnings.
Packaging items that might leak.
Items that are frozen or could melt require different steps to packaging. Soggy, leaky boxes do not make sturdy shipping containers . To prevent the heartbreak of a soggy package, you need to use a thick, plastic liner and a mat placed on top to prevent any leaks. If you are handling frozen items or items that might need a little extra security, you can always utilize a plastic bag. By placing your food into a plastic bag, you are adding an extra layer of protection that reduces the risk of a soggy or leaking box.
Shipping your food.
Finally, it’s time to ship your food. Picking the best shipping method solely depends on how fast your items need to be at your recipients doorstep. Fruit and frozen foods, for example, would probably be best fit for next-day shipping, but cookies could withstand 2-day shipping. If you’re unsure, look on your carrier’s website to see what shipping method they recommend.
If you’re thinking about shipping other items, check out our “How to Ship” series to learn more. To get started, here’s a few options: