ISS’ Guide to Shipping Perishable Goods

  • 2 min read

The food and beverage ecommerce industry has grown significantly in the past few years. There is greater demand for home-delivered consumables and more technology that allows us to fulfil this.

One of the biggest challenges food and beverage retailers face in this industry is shipping. Shipping perishables can be costly and difficult due to their many storage and transport requirements. Fortunately, ISS is here to help with our complete guide to shipping perishable goods.

1. Choose the Right Packaging

The right packaging materials will depend heavily on what exactly you’re shipping.

Common lightweight perishable packaging types include styrofoam boxes, custom styrofoam cut sheets, insulated liners, air-filled insulation liners, and insulated pads. Heavier duty packaging options include glass and insulated containers.

Be sure to consider whether you need to add additional packaging like padding, insulation, watertight plastic bags, or wrapping - all of which protect products from temperature changes.

2. Select the Right Cold Storage Materials

The type and the level of cold storage materials you’ll need will depend on the packaging you choose. With styrofoam, the thicker the packaging, the less ice or coolant you’ll need. So while using very thick styrofoam might seem appealing, the packaging will come at a higher cost and take up more room in a container.

You’ll need to find an optimal compromise between cost and space to decide how to keep items cold. Ice packs and gel coolants are more affordable, and work well for items that should be refrigerated, but not frozen.

Dry ice can keep items frozen and prevent them from going bad for longer. But shipping with dry ice also means your shipment may be treated as a hazardous material, increasing costs and red tape. To avoid the hazardous material headache – and ensure that your shipment can travel by air – keep dry ice contents per package less than the maximum weight of 2.5 kilograms. No matter the amount, any package containing dry ice needs to be clearly marked on the outside. And remember, do not place dry ice in boxes with airtight seals, as gases need to be able to escape.

3. Pick the Right Carrier

There is no easy answer as to which carrier is best for shipping perishables. The answer depends on what you’re shipping, where, and how quickly it needs to get there. For perishable shipments, carriers recommend allowing no longer than 30 hours in transit.

Essentially, the right carrier is the one who can get shipments to your customers the fastest. This may mean using different carriers for different shipping zones. If you choose a regional carrier, be sure to select one experienced in shipping food and beverage products.

If you’re unsure how to best go about shipping your perishable cargo, give ISS a call. We are experienced in shipping food and beverage goods across the globe, promptly and hassle-free. Our extensive network of carriers and shipping providers also ensure that we get the best rates possible for our clients, no matter what they need to ship.