Perishables are very sensitive items; they can easily spoil due to fluctuations in temperature, pressure, and physical damage. This is why taking the necessary safety precautions to get your product from point A to point B is imperative.
As a business owner, you want your ingredients or finished products to arrive to you or your clients in the same high quality they left in.
What happens during transit, however, is mostly out of your control.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to minimize the risks. As expers in beverage logistics and shipping solutions, we have a few secrets on how to ship perishable food. We’ll share some of the industry’s best practices here so you, too, can keep your items fresh, safe, and crisp all the way from the source to your client’s table.
Cold Chain Shipping
Cold chain shipping is the preferred method of shipping refrigerated food. It is a type of temperature-controlled shipping that keeps perishables chilled or at an optimal temperature during transportation from its source to destination, prevents spoilage, and preserves the food’s quality.
Here are some examples of tools and equipment used in cold chain shipping:
Not all perishables require constant refrigeration; sometimes you only need to make small deliveries. In these situations, containers that can help retain temperatures within short distances would be your best option.
Temperature-controlled containers are insulated and protect against heat and cold that can alter the texture, taste, and quality of your items. These containers are typically used for quick deliveries, but they can also be used for long-distance shipments depending on the time and items to be delivered.
The Pallet Parka, for example, can help maintain an item’s core temperature so it doesn’t lose its quality against frost, heat, light, and minor force. It’s an excellent, economical solution to bypassing chilled chain transport, especially for craft or micro breweries that may have more frequent deliveries with a smaller product load.
The Pallet Parka is also adjustable, reusable and foldable, so once your product has been delivered, you can easily return it in the Parka Tote to you via parcel freight and use it again for your next delivery.
Containers like the Pallet Parka are great for delivering wine, spirits, and craft beer, beer ingredients, kombucha, fruit, pharmaceuticals, and other similar items.
Reefers are trucks with active cooling and heating systems. Their temperatures can be adjusted to haul frozen or heated goods, which means your perishables will be delivered to your clients or to you at its exact temperatures.
Reefers are best used for transporting medicine, temperature-sensitive chemicals, certain kinds of electronics, delicate produce like fresh flowers, and frozen items like ice cream, raw meat or seafood, fresh milk, and pre-packaged meals.
Because they can keep temperatures steady, using reefer trucks can help prevent food poisoning bacteria from multiplying. That’s why it’s commonly used by manufacturers and suppliers that ship pre-cooked and raw food. They are extremely reliable, however, they are not the cheapest way to ship perishable food. It’s best to only use them for extremely sensitive items.
Although they are similar to reefers, insulated trucks don’t have built-in temperature controllers. Hence, they can’t guarantee a steady temperature during transit. Instead, they are lined with insulation to maintain the cool temperature inside the vehicle and protect against heat or they sometimes use dry ice to keep the items inside chilled or frozen.
They are best used for perishables that are less temperature-sensitive such as root crops, certain leafy vegetables, and some types of cosmetics.
In addition to temperature protection, you should also protect your perishables from damages while in transit. Many food items are sensitive to air pressure, impact, scratching, water and light. So, when transporting your items, take note of these risks and pack accordingly.
Here are some of the most common items used to prevent physical damage:
- Wetness or moisture protection: Items can become moist or wet during transit as the ambient temperature fluctuates. When this happens, your food items will be vulnerable to mold growth. Accidental spills can also occur during loading, unloading or when passing rough roads. To prevent damage to your items, use waterproof containers and include desiccants inside the packaging.
- Impact and scratch protection: If your items are fragile or have delicate surfaces, cushions, corrugated cardboard boxes, holders and separators can keep them intact during transit.
- Light protection: Light-sensitive items are commonly packed in opaque containers. To add extra protection, you can use food-grade UV protective covers.
- Static electricity protection: Anti-static wraps prevent the buildup of static electricity. Static electricity can damage electronic parts or induce a spark and cause a fire. It can also cause airborne matter to contaminate food that’s being delivered. Use anti-static wraps when shipping electronic parts, computers, equipment, appliances, flammable materials, spirits and ingredients that cannot be washed like powdered seasonings or spices.
Deliver as Quickly as Possible
Of course, the quicker your items reach their destination, the less likely they are to spoil. Work with your logistics team or service provider to determine the best delivery schedule, route, method, and packaging for your items.
[No] Spoiler Alert: How to Ship Perishable Food the Easiest Way
Don’t let anything get in the way of your business. When it comes to keeping your investments and securing your earnings, working with a partner who can keep your losses at a minimum should be a part of your strategy.
Brew Movers specializes in fragile and temperature-controlled shipping and can help keep your items secure during transit. Our innovative and efficient approach to shipping will not only keep your goods fresh but also help optimize your logistics, so you can focus on making products your patrons love to buy.
Wondering how to ship perishable food? Call Brew Movers now and we’ll help you move your goods to and from anywhere in North America⸺fresh, intact and right on schedule!