Shipping perishables is no easy task. Here at Welch Packaging, we are ready to guide you through the process to ensure your products arrive safely.
Commercial retailers find that shipping perishables to customers is extremely challenging, due to the increased logistics involved. Many retailers are considering shipping perishables because the online ordering of goods, including perishables, is continuing to rise in popularity. Fueled by the success of Amazon delivery and companies like BlueApron, customers expect that their favorite foods and beverages can be made available by retailers. Fortunately, if you know how to pack your perishables and use some shipping savvy, you could benefit from the increased revenue from online sales. Here are tips you can use to ship perishables with confidence.
You can avoid your packages sitting over the weekend by planning your shipping dates to occur early in the week. That way you are ensuring your customers get their perishable packages as soon as possible. Make sure to date when your product was packed and also put an expiration date on the product.
Since your articles need quick and dependable delivery that won’t break the bank, you need to take the time to think about what the right balance of delivery speed and cost would be for optimal marketability of your product. Some of your products may need to ship with an overnight service, while others can keep their freshness for a few days on the road. In addition, you will need to consider if some of your products may only be shippable in the cooler months.
When choosing carrier options, make sure to find out what different temperature control measures they have in place at each level of shipping. This enables you to gauge how fresh your product will arrive at its destination. With more premium shipping levels, you may be able to keep your most fragile perishables cool enough for year-round delivery. Customer satisfaction and loyalty stand to rise when favorite perishable products are available any time of the year.
Use the appropriate packing materials to maintain the optimal level of freshness for your perishables. Your first concern is the cushioning for your product. The best choices for cushioning fragile containers are Instapak foam bags, bubble wrap, or plastic foam peanuts. Make sure to have at least two inches of cushion between a fragile item and the box it is packed in. Although it is tempting to cut costs by using newspaper, it does not provide enough cushion for your items to arrive safely.
Next, make sure that your products are properly sealed for transport. While some items may be packaged in glass, others will need sturdy packagings such as plastic bags or containers. Corrugated partitions are great to separate individual food items such as chocolates or cupcakes within their outer packaging.
If your perishable product needs to stay frozen or refrigerated during transport, you have choices of how to keep it cool. Both dry ice and frozen gel packs are commonly utilized to keep products at the proper temperature. Dry ice, as its name implies, is a dry cooling product, and keeps perishables frozen longer, but is also a hazardous material. It needs to be handled with gloves as it can burn bare skin. Care also needs to be taken to not seal the dry ice in packaging as the gas that the dry ice emits could build up the pressure and explode the package. Instead, seal your frozen food in plastic packaging and protect it with corrugated partitions so it is protected from dry ice contamination.
Make sure that you check with your shipping company of choice to see how much dry ice is allowable in packaging. Frozen gel packs are beneficial to utilize in frozen packages as they can be used to help maintain freezing temperatures without being a safety risk. If you are able to combine some dry ice with frozen gel packs in your packaging, the gel will stay frozen longer and there will be less of a dry ice safety risk.
All empty space in the box needs to be filled in order to maintain your ideal shipping temperature for the longest amount of time possible. This is especially important when shipping things like frozen meat. The inside of the shipping container can be lined with polystyrene foam, essentially making the interior of the box a cooler.
Use a combination of dry ice and gel packs at the base of the box, then place a cardboard partition on top. The wrapped frozen perishable is placed next with another cardboard partition on top. A gel pack layer tops the cardboard, and more dry ice is layered on before being covered with Styrofoam. Any gaps in the layers should be filled with either bubble wrap or 60 lb. craft paper.
It is always a good idea to place a priority on communication with the customer, especially to inform them when their package was shipped when they can expect it, and if there are any changes in the delivery schedule. Customers will appreciate the extra care that you are providing with the delivery of their product.
There are many details to consider when planning the logistics of shipping perishables to customers around the country and even the world. Differing price points of various shipping services, the optimum shipping time line for your products, and temperature control both within and outside of the product box all come into play. With some forethought in shipping approach and the utilization of best packing practices, your company can position itself in the marketplace as a premier supplier of perishable goods.
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