When you first start your food business, there are a million different checklists you have to tick off and a million things you have to sort through. If your food business revolves around frozen or cold foods, shipping sits at the top of your problems.
Shipping your cold and frozen food can be a challenging prospect. Not only must you ensure that it doesn’t melt, but you must also ensure that it doesn’t turn stale due to extreme temperatures. The process has to be undertaken with utmost care from the time it’s prepared till it reaches its destination.
Nevertheless, there’s nothing to fear, since everything you are unsure of can be found on the mighty internet. Then again, we’re here to tell you how to ship frozen and cold food to ensure that your food items stay intact on their journey.
As a food business owner, packaging can either make your life blissful or turn it into a nightmare. While you compile a list of to-dos, the first thing you need to consider when you want to ship a frozen food item is every nitty gritty of packaging. But don’t fret, we’ll tell you what you need to be aware of below:
1. Be extra careful of possible melting accidents
You’re trying to ship food that can melt easily, so you have to be prepared for possible accidents. Your food item arriving drenched in water is the last thing you want. Having foresight will help avoid your food item from creating a soggy mess when it reaches its destination.
What you can do is pack your items well and place them in a plastic bag that’s watertight. Moreover, you can also line the inside of your container with liners that are thick, so as to minimize any possible leaks. If you’re shipping seafood, add an extra layer of bagging so as to prevent it from getting stale.
2. Adding coolants
Dry ice and gel packs are the most common items added to carriers to keep your food cool. While dry ice does not dampen, it doesn’t last as long as gel packs. Consequently, which option you go for depends on how far your food is to travel.
Never! We repeat, never use regular ice, since it melts incredibly fast and can dampen your food items. Regular ice is also heavy, so throw that idea out the window! At the same time, never put dry ice in containers that are airtight. Why? Containers that are airtight can burst as dry ice releases carbon dioxide which needs ventilation to escape. Another option you can use is placing your food in insulated foam coolers which also does the job of keeping cold and frozen food cool for long.
Related: Homemade Food Packaging Ideas| Your Guide To Sustainable Packaging
Choosing a Carrier
Another thing to look into very well in advance – which carrier or postage to send your food items with. Since you’re shipping frozen food, make this your motto – the faster the better. Subsequently, all carrier companies have different modes and shipping duration options, so you can choose which one suits you best. However, we’d suggest you stick to a 1 to 2 day shipping duration to minimize the possibility of your frozen or cold food melting or turning stale.
If you want to ship your frozen food items overnight, you can do so with FedEx who offer specialized express shipping. FedEx also has an option to ship your frozen food using a one-time-use chilling unit that has to be activated and put in your box with your food. We suggest you contact different carrier services to find out what other options they offer to ship frozen and cold foods quickly and efficiently.
Take Carrier Restrictions Into Account
You read that correctly. Carrier and postage services have several terms and conditions as well as restrictions when it comes to shipping your food. These mostly have to do with the materials that accompany your food items to keep them cool, rather than the food item itself.
For example, FedEx will allow you to add around 200 kgs of dry ice to a single food package. On the other hand, USPS will not let you ship dry ice with your package internationally at all. If you want to ship domestically, USPS has a maximum limit of 2 kgs of dry ice per package, whereas it’s 2.5kgs for UPS.
Carrier companies also have other rules that have to be followed when you ship your frozen foods. For example, if your packages will have dry ice, they have to be labelled in compliance with the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) regulations. Why dry ice specifically you ask? This is because it counts as a hazardous material, so extra caution is a must. No wonder why it’s necessary that you read all the rules and regulations before you send your packages out.
Choose The Right Day To Ship
Lastly but most importantly, you have to choose the right day to ship your frozen foods out. What we mean is that if your carrier doesn’t ship on the weekends, be sure to send your packages at the start of the week itself. Also, be aware of national holidays and other such days when your carrier doesn’t ship. You don’t want the bulk of your frozen or cold food shipment to go to waste.
How to ship frozen and cold foods can be a daunting task, but once you have the different nuances in place, the entire process becomes simplified. We hope that the process seems less challenging now that you’ve read our article. Don’t forget to contact your carrier if you have doubts about anything related to shipping your frozen food items!
Related: How To Ship Perishable Food| How To Price Your Food Product for Food Business| Your Guide To Sustainable Packaging
Also Read: How To Start A Food Business from Home