Everything You Need to Know About Mailing Perishable Food Items
Do you sell perishable food items online?
Or, do you want to send your kids in college those tasty homemade pies you promised them?
Mailing perishable food items is easier and convenient today than in the past. With speedy delivery and proper packaging, you can mail food items to your customers or loved ones with less worry.
In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know about mailing fresh and frozen food. This includes special packaging, mailing speeds, and cooling methods.
Let’s get cracking!
1. Understand Government Regulations
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements are essential to consider when shipping perishable food items.
Mailing food items may cause concerns about shelf life, food safety, and distribution. If you find a reputable mailing service, they can help you navigate and meet these requirements.
First, you need to ensure that your courier service ships perishable items. It’s encouraged for the food to be delivered quickly, probably overnight. The outer packaged should have a “Keep Refrigerated” label to alert the handlers and recipient.
The package must be kept below 40 degrees F. The recipient should use a thermometer to check the temperature at the time of delivery. Or, the food should be frozen or partially frozen with traces of visible ice crystals.
If the food arrives warm with temperatures above 40 degrees F, it’s advisable not to eat it.
2. Proper Packaging
As expected, this is the most critical aspect of mailing food items.
First, you need to pack the food in airtight containers to avoid the risk of spillage during movement and handling. Proper insulation is also an important consideration when packing your food items.
You need to keep the heat out, and there are several materials you can use to do this. This includes:
- Styrofoam cut sheets – You can use these as inserts for your shipping boxes
- Styrofoam boxes – Boxes with thicker wallers are the best, but they cost more
- Insulated liners – Liners are great for tightly wrapping your items
- Air-filled insulated liners – This option uses thermal properties of air for safe shipping
- Insulated pads – Pads feature Styrofoam and insulated liners to keep your products fresh
You can also keep the perishable items cold. As a rule of thumb, use ice packs for refrigerated items and dry ice for frozen products. The amount of ice packs and dry ice you need depends on your product’s weight. The anticipated shipping time is also important.
When using dry ice, keep in mind that it’s a hazardous material. Wear gloves while handling it to avoid burning your skin. Be careful enough not to let it come in direct contact with food. Be sure to label the package that it contains dry ice.
Avoid using brown paper and strings when packaging the food. The paper can tear, and the strings are likely to get caught on sorting belts. Also, don’t use duct tape as it becomes loose when exposed to cold conditions.
3. Find the Right Mailing Service
Even with proper shipping, choosing the wrong courier service will result in a disaster for you. Ideally, the longer it takes for your package to be delivered, the more likely the food quality will decrease.
As such, pick a service that offers a guarantee for same-day delivery. They should offer pre-scheduled routed delivery and rush courier & on-demand services. These services allow you to get your package delivered in the minimum time possible.
Be sure to compare quotes offered by different services before making your selection.
Also, consider the shipping speed. Reliable courier services should provide a shipping time of 12 to 48 hours. Of course, the type of the product and the destination of the package will determine the exact shipping speed.
4. Choose the Right Shipping Day
Some courier services don’t ship products during national holidays and the weekends. So, be sure to determine the ideal day for mailing perishable food items.
Delivery will take longer if you mail the packages at the end of the week. They are likely to sit in a warm warehouse over the weekend, and this means the quality will decrease. Some companies can offer storage services, but this will come at a fee.
So, plan in advance, probably early in the week, to ship your package without risking spoilage.
5. Use Local Produce
If you’re in the grocery business, the best way to ensure your products are safe is by using local producers. This way, you can close the production gap. Ideally, you don’t need to ship products from other states or towns when there are local producers who can meet your needs.
Being close to where you’re shipping your products from means the products will spend less time in the sun or warehouse. If there’s no local producer near you, consider finding one located near your courier service.
Be sure to work with a producer that can offer packaging and tagging services.
6. Always Check the Package Destination
It’s not uncommon for courier services to deliver a package to the wrong address. This can be their mistake or yours.
Whatever the case, always confirm the mailing address to ensure it’s correct. If the recipient gave you the address, be sure to call them to validate it. When the package is ready for shipping, review the shipping details to ensure everything is accurate.
This is particularly important for same-day delivery packages. Delivering to the wrong address will add more hours to the shipping time. This is likely to affect the quality of the package.
Also, don’t send the package to business addresses or other places with no adequate refrigerator storage.
Mailing Perishable Food Items – Final Thoughts
We trust that these tips for mailing fresh food will help you to ensure your recipients and customers get their packages as fresh as possible. The essential aspects of mailing perishable food items include proper package and reliable courier services.
At Need It Now Delivers, we offer national courier and logistics services to deliver your package on time.
Do you have any question about our services? Be sure to reach out to us at any time.