The Best Ways to Ship Frozen and Perishable Food

Everyone has wondered a time or two what it would be like to get those freshly baked cookies to their friends and family who live far away. But have you ever stopped to consider the realities of shipping food? Specifically, have you ever stopped to wonder what it would be like to ship frozen and perishable food? At first glance, it may seem impossible! But with the help of the right shipping and moving experts, nothing is impossible. So let us teach you a thing or two about the best ways to ship frozen and perishable food!

Should you ship frozen and perishable food at all?

Food is not exactly the most common thing to send via post. It is typically businesses that ship food, especially when it’s perishable or frozen. Companies that work in the food and restaurant industry or sell produce usually deal with large quantities of perishable and frozen food. But it is not impossible to ship food as a private person either.

Open fridge.
If you’re thinking of shipping your perishables when moving, don’t.

Still, shipping food is not easy. Food is unpredictable, can go bad easily, melt or spill. All of this makes shipping it tricky and expensive. You’ll be fine if you want to send a smaller amount of food via post as a care package to a family member or a friend over the holidays. But if you’re moving and dealing with leftover food in the fridge, getting rid of perishables is a better idea. They’re simply not worth the effort or cost.

Before you ship frozen and perishable food, learn how to pack it

Before you start looking into professionals in the business of global cargo forwarding, you should know how to pack and prepare the food for the shipping. This is actually the most important part of the process. It’s proper packaging that really protects the food from spilling, melting or going bad and keeps it fresh instead.

Use packaging with an airtight seal when you ship frozen and perishable food

Packing food in airtight packaging helps keep it fresh. Almost all food requires airtight packaging for shipping, especially to longer distances. Everything from fruits and vegetables to pastries benefits from lack of contact with air. It will keep longer and stay tasty! Use plastic shrink wrap, Ziploc baggies and other plastic containers, sealing with tape where necessary to make them airtight.

Insulate frozen and refrigerated food

For frozen and refrigerated food, as well as food that must stay cold for other reasons, you want to use containers that keep the cold and even add some extra insulation if possible. The moment you take things out of your fridge or freezer, they will start melting. Even if you’re only shipping frozen goods a short distance away, you will have a problem on your hands quite quickly.

Frozen berries
Keep frozen food frozen with insulation.

An insulated container that keeps the contents cool is, therefore, a necessity. For things like ice cream, cakes, seafood and other produce you want to keep frozen for as long as possible use insulated foam containers. The thicker the walls of the container the longer it’ll keep the food cold. For things you want to keep cold (but not necessarily frozen) a shipping box will do if combined with insulated foam planks or thermal bubble wrap. Shipping things you want just chilled but firmly unfrozen? Use gel packs!

Use a refrigerant for cold and frozen items

Insulation alone is not enough to keep food frozen or even cold, especially when you’re shipping long distance. You will need to fill the insulated container with a refrigerant for best results. The two most common and effective refrigerants are gel packs and dry ice. both have pros and cons.

Gel packs last longer than dry ice and are easier to get your hands on and handle. On the other hand, they only keep the food at between 32 and 60 degrees F. They also melt so they need to be in watertight packaging.

Dry ice has long been used as an effective coolant and for good reason. It can keep food frozen and cold for a long while and doesn’t melt into water. It is, however, considered hazardous and can only be obtained and shipped in limited quantities.

Use watertight packaging for food that can melt

It should be self-evident but you will need watertight packaging for everything that melts unless you want to end up with a melted mess. This includes the food itself, as well as gel packs or ice you are using to keep it cool.

Ice cubes.
Ice is not ideal for shipping food, but dry ice will keep it frozen without a mess.

How to ship frozen and perishable food

Once you’ve packed your food, it’s time to actually ship it. We do not recommend that you handle the transport yourself as professionals with specialized trucks and equipment are best equipped to handle food shipping.

Choose the right company to ship frozen and perishable food with

Choosing the right company to ship with is of vital importance. You always want the best people with experience in cargo import & export to handle your shipments. This is especially relevant when you’re shipping food due to restrictions placed on the amount and type of food items you can send. While such restrictions rarely apply within the borders of one country, shipping via plane or boat or across borders is heavily regulated.

Pay for expedited shipping

Every minute counts when you ship frozen and perishable food. Slow transport can result in the food arriving melted, soggy, stale or even inedible. So you want the food you’re shipping to arrive as soon as possible, preferably while still frozen and fresh. If this shipment is really important to you, don’t skimp on the shipping! Pay for the service you need: hire the best company you can find and don’t hesitate to ask if they offer any kind of expedited shipping. Remember, the faster the food arrives, the better condition it will be in!

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