5 Tips for Shipping Food Across the Country
If you have a child away at college, sending a care package with his or her favorite baked goods can make your student less homesick. But, what’s the best way to ship baked goods?
During the holiday season, you may want to send relatives your famous homemade chocolate truffles as gifts. So, how does one send perishable foods?
Or you might be thinking about starting a cupcake business that would include shipping your delicious treats across the country. Is there a particular way to ship cakes or cupcakes?
All of these situations involve shipping food, which requires special care and protection from the elements. In addition, these packages can be subject to extreme temperature conditions which can affect the quality of the contents.
When sending food in the mail, it’s important to consider proper packaging, refrigeration, and insulation to keep food safe and intact when it reaches its final destination.
It’s also important to choose the right courier service.
If you follow these five tips, you can ensure the food will arrive safely when sending edible gifts and perishables across the country.
1. Place Goods in Appropriate Container
After baking, allow the food items to cool completely. If you pack up baked goods before cooling, they will release condensation and will become soggy.
Place in an airtight container that is a snug as possible. If the container is too big, items will move around and may fall apart. If there’s extra space, fill that space up with something soft to cushion the food.
You can also use a zip-locked bag. Containers or bags should be wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to help maintain the temperature. Also, it will contain possible spillage.
2. Keep Cold
Even perishable foods that don’t normally require refrigeration should be kept cool, especially during the summer. Duct tape a cold pack to the bottom of the container. Cold packs can keep food cold for a long time.
If shipping meats or poultry, then attach the cold pack to the top with duct tape. Then wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
It’s important to keep fresh foods from freezing, or frozen foods from melting or thawing. Non-frozen foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Place Contents in Box
Put the entire contents in a box with room for packing peanuts. The box should be either foam or corrugated cardboard and be new. Old boxes degrade over time and become weak.
Foam is a good choice for foods that must maintain a certain temperature, and especially if it needs to stay cool.
If you’re shipping items in glass, such as mason jars, wrap the glass containers in bubble wrap and then surround with peanuts.
Newspapers are not a good source of insulation. It can get wet, tear and doesn’t provide sufficient protection.
Wrap and seal the box with shipping tape only, and not duct or masking tape, which can melt in the heat.
4. Choose a Reliable Shipping Courier
Find a courier service that is experienced in handling and quickly delivering last minute packages that contain food item. Some courier services do not necessarily prioritize these kinds of shipments.
Food shipped in the mail should be sent as quickly as possible. Ship it early in the week to make sure that it doesn’t get slowed down over the weekend. This is especially important over the holidays.
Packages mailed on a Thursday or Friday, or just before a holiday, sometimes experience a delay or end up sitting in a warehouse until Monday.
Properly label the box and write “keep refrigerated”, “perishable” on the box. You will need to let the carrier know that you are shipping food items.
When you mail the package, you should receive a tracking number and an estimated date of delivery.
At this time, notify the recipient to be on the lookout for the package, so that it doesn’t sit out on a porch for too long. You should also remind the recipient if the package needs to be refrigerated or placed in the freezer right away.
5. Make Sure Packages Arrive Safely
When the food arrives, check with the recipient to make sure it arrived safely. Food that should be frozen should arrive at least partially frozen. Ice crystals should be visible.
If food is warmer than 40 degrees, notify the shipping company immediately and do not eat the food.
How to Ship Perishable Foods Review
For review here are the steps for Shipping Refrigerated Items:
- Use gel coolant
- Freeze coolant a couple days prior to use
- Pre-cool the shipping container
- Double-bag foods with liquids
- Line the inside of the container with plastic if shipping liquids
- Place the container in a box and surround completely with packing peanuts
- Seal inner liner
- Place styrofoam container into a corrugated box
- Seal with shipping tap on all seams
And for Shipping Frozen Items:
- Freeze food items before packing
- Precool the container
- Line the container with plastic
- Place dry ice in the container all around the item
- Seal and place in a corrugated box
- Fill the box with packing peanuts
- Seal all seams with shipping tape
Dry ice is considered a dangerous good/hazardous material. Prior to shipping you must fill out all required paperwork and label the box appropriately.
Shipping seafood requires some additional steps:
- Seafood should be double-bagged in plastic, with each bag individually sealed
- Place absorbent materials on the bottom of the container, such as paper towels.
- Ship overnight if possible
To ensure speedy and safe shipping, it’s important to take these necessary steps.
Shipping Food through the Mail
If you take all the above steps, you should have no problem sending thoughtful and delicious packages to your friends or loved ones.
If you’re sending food as part of your business, using a reliable shipping company is essential and makes all the difference between a bad Yelp review and a repeat customer.
Contact us for more information on courier services or for a free quote.