Since the 2020 pandemic, there has been an increased demand for shipping perishable items. Whether shipping prescriptions or food and beverages to your home, retailers are finding ways to enter this time-sensitive market. Understanding the best ways to ship perishable goods is critical for any business. This is because, throughout the transportation process, your shipment can face the risk of contamination, spoiling, or showing up in poor condition.
While shipping these items can be expensive and challenging, it’s essential that you don’t cut corners to save money. Ensuring you have the proper tools, supplies, and budget to ship these goods will make your experience much easier. To help kickstart your process, here’s how to ship perishable goods safely and efficiently to keep your customers satisfied and healthy.
Before we can provide a guide to shipping perishable items, what are perishable goods? Perishable goods are items that have a finite or limited shelf-life. These items can range from dairy products to meat to prescription drugs. You must ensure your items are fresh when they reach the consumer to prevent sickness and harm.
Perishable items can deteriorate quickly and should get prepared carefully before shipping. Things like eggs and meat can only get shipped domestically, and fresh fruits and vegetables are nonmailable. However, dried fruits and veggies are mailable.
If you’re thinking about mailing off sweet treats, such as cookies or brownies, it’s important that you expedite the shipping to ensure there are no delays. The ingredients within the treats can spoil, which isn’t good for the consumer.
Finding the proper packaging materials depends on what you’re shipping. From extreme temperatures to humidity, there are a few challenges your packaging must overcome. Lightweight perishable packaging such as insulated liners, Styrofoam boxes, and protective wrapping can help keep the cool temperatures in. You can also use heavier-duty packaging like glass containers for extra protection. Below we will detail how proper packaging can affect your goods.
As stated before, the necessity of how cool your packages are depends on what you’re shipping. There are ways you can protect your temperature-sensitive goods from the outside temperatures and humidity. The key is to keep the items fresh through insulation and refrigeration. Here are some options to consider:
Dry ice will allow your items to stay frozen or cold throughout transportation. Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide and is necessary to ship frozen foods. Although it’s a perfect choice, this can be expensive and is not allowed by all carrier companies.
If you’re using dry ice to transport your goods, it’s crucial to label your packages so it complies with the carrier’s rules. Dry ice is hazardous and requires special carrying because it can cause burns and injuries. While it’s non-toxic, it can still cause harm to those in enclosed areas since it releases carbon dioxide gases.
A popular way to keep your items refrigerated is by using cold packs within your packages. You can use these packs to ship refrigerated and semi-perishable items and prescription drugs. Various types of reusable hard bags are available to cater to the things you’re shipping and the quantity getting shipped. You can choose the best temperature and how long it needs to stay cold when selecting the type of cold pack you want.
These packs are popular because you can mold them to your desired shape. It would be best to use gel packs for shipment with irregular shapes and plastic and foam packs for defined surfaces. However, testing your options before shipping your items is always best.
Like blankets, insulated liners can tightly protect your items from physical damage and keep your things cool. Depending on how much protection and insulation you need, you can get air-filled liners and pads. Insulated pads are a popular option because they’re environmentally friendly.
When it comes to the overall packaging of perishable items, it’s essential that you keep them in the proper packaging material. Whether you need lightweight or heavier fabrics, the goal is to keep the shipped goods safe for consumption or use.
Using glass containers is a great way to pack food items. While it’s more expensive and heavier than its counterparts, this material doesn’t react to food ingredients. This will reduce the chances of spoilage and staleness. Typically, large corporations will use this material to transport large quantities of food.
However, glass is fragile and requires more padding and wrap to protect it from breaking during its journey. You must ensure you budget for extra protective materials, weight, and space on the freight.
Styrofoam boxes are another way you can ship perishable goods safely. They’re great for maintaining cool temperatures and insulation throughout their transportation. This is a lightweight material, so it helps businesses save money on freight expenses. However, these boxes are more likely to arrive damaged. You will need extra protection to prevent dents or worse damage. If not, you could face fluid leakages, contamination, spoilage, and more.
Vacuum-sealing and plastic wrapping perishable goods are common ways most small businesses utilize. This method is least likely to spoil because it’s uneasy about tampering or puncture. Plastic wrapping frozen goods, such as meat, will help prevent freezer burn and keep dried fruits pristine. However, make sure you’re using non-toxic plastics.
While choosing the proper packaging is essential, partnering with a reliable 3PL company is key. This is the best way to make sure that your perishable goods make it to your destination on time. Using a trustworthy company that offers shipping and logistic services will help to ensure that your items get managed with care and that you will receive transparent communication every step of the way.
At Diversified Transportation Service, we provide it all. Our priority is to arrange the transport of your goods to their destination without damage and stress. If your company requires freight services, make sure to contact us. We’re always happy to help!
Whether you're a company looking to improve one facet of your supply chain, your entire supply chain, or simply looking for a transportation and logistics consultation, we can help.