Small businesses that ship perishable food have to make a number of judgment calls. If you make a mistake, your customer may get food that was improperly packed – and that may even get them sick. You can severely cut down on the risk to this by looking into ways to pack perishable food.
Refrigerated Container: This is the ideal option. If you have enough food to pack a container, you just fill a reefer, or refrigerated container. Small businesses rarely ship in such bulk, however. You’re more often stuck shipping a few orders to individual households.
Styrofoam: Use styrofoam boxes. Thicker styrofoam boxes hold up well and require less dry ice or fewer ice packs. These can’t ship on their own – you’ll still need to fit them in a cardboard box that’s more durable for handling and shipping.
Insulated Liners: Liners are like emergency blankets for your food. They’re silver in color, and can even communicate a degree of care and professionalism to your customers. Liners also allow you more flexibility in how you pack. You can also get air filled liners.
Pads: Made of recycled material, an insulated pad is another good solution. You can order these in good number with cardboard boxes fitted for them.
Ice Packs or Dry Ice? One-time use ice packs are good solutions, but dry ice is often a better choice when you ship perishable food. Factor it by how much you’re shipping and how long it will take. Keep in mind that shipping 5 lbs. of food in 24 hours will require 8 lbs. of dry ice, whereas shipping it in 48 hours will require 16 lbs. of it.
Dry ice is a hazardous material, whereas ice packs are not. Adjust accordingly, and talk to your shipping company about precautions and labeling. Even with an inexpensive shipping deal, it’s not inexpensive to pack perishable food in the first place. Price accordingly and make sure your customers have some idea of what’s built into the cost.