As more and more customers are ordering food from the comfort of their homes, food and beverage e-commerce is set to have impressive growth in the coming years. When you’re a wholesaler looking to expand your business and are considering shipping food products, you must be ready for the additional challenge that comes with shipping food.
While even shipping food domestically has a lot of challenges, shipping overseas needs a lot of planning and preparation. The risk of food items getting damaged or spoiled during transit is far greater if the entire process is not carefully planned and executed.
Even foods that are shelf-stable may get damaged during shipping and become inedible by the time they reach the destination.
The way to make sure food items arrive safely in the edible condition is to pack them carefully using temperature-controlled packing and use the fastest shipping option possible. You’ll also have to ensure you meet the customs requirements of the destination country for your shipment to not get rejected or held at customs.
Packaging — Cardboard Boxes and Padding
You can use cardboard boxes for all kinds of shipments. Even food products benefit from having a cardboard box around them even if they are already packed in a plastic wrap or foam container. Cardboard boxes used for shipping acts as an additional layer of protection, preventing the food products from impacts during transit.
Some food packages need padding during transportation. Packing peanuts and airbags can be used as additional padding in the cardboard box to safely ship food items without damages. If glass containers are used, it is important to use plastic wrap to wrap them to contain glass shards and pieces in the unlikely event the containers break.
A good amount of padding is always recommended to ensure food products are not spoilt due to containers and boxes getting damaged and broken. Use sufficient biodegradable packing peanuts to keep your shipments in good shape throughout the transit.
Shipping Food Products
We will take a look at different food products and the best packaging options to ship them. We will take into consideration all the factors that can affect the shipment and ensure everything is perfect for the food items to arrive nearly in the same condition as they were packed to the destination.
Shipping Shelf-Stable Foods
Shelf-stable foods are foods that can be safely stored at room temperatures with effective packaging. However, even shelf-stable foods can be damaged due to extreme temperatures and movement during overseas shipping. The key is to use the best packaging option to pack these foods items.
Use sufficient padding when packaging shelf-stable foods. When you’re shipping powders like cake mixes, you should wrap them in plastic and add a protective layer to prevent leakages.
Shipping Fruits and Vegetables
There is a huge demand for fresh fruits and vegetables. As not all fruits and vegetables grow in a country, importing them is essential to meet the demand.
Due to heat, plants release more ethylene gas that makes them ripen faster. Hence, it is important to minimize heat during the transportation of fruits and vegetables.
Use foam with indents that match the size of the fruits you’re shipping. Make sure to separate the fruits during packaging to allow airflow. Place foam on top of the fruits for extra protection and ensure ventilation holes are present for gases to escape.
Shipping Meat (Raw and Frozen)
Shipping meat overseas is very tricky. The opportunity cost is extremely high as meat can get spoiled easily and affect the health of the consumer. The growth of harmful bacteria can make the meat contaminated and cause food poisoning when consumed.
If not handled properly, shipping meat can be hugely detrimental to the reputation of the seller as contaminated meat is highly risky and leads to very unhappy customers.
It is recommended to ship frozen meat as it is easier to ship without risks of spoilage. However, sub-zero temperatures have to be maintained to prevent or limit bacterial growth.
Use temperature-controlled shipping boxes such as a Styrofoam cooler with dry ice or refrigerated gel packs. You can also use refrigerated containers to ship large quantities of meat safely.
For smaller quantities of meat, make sure the packaging is sealed without any leakage. Vacuum sealing and cling-wrap packaging are recommended for protecting meat. Also, use additional plastic around the wrap to prevent damages.
Shipping Chocolates and Candies
Chocolates and candies can melt when they are exposed to high temperatures. If proper packaging is not used, chocolates can melt in transit during a hot summer.
The best way to package chocolates and candies is to use waterproof packaging. You can also consider using a foam container with gel packs or dry ice when shipping chocolates.
You have to keep in mind that your shipping charges may increase when you use rush shipping if you’re shipping expensive chocolates in the summer months.
Beverages should not be exposed to extreme temperatures as the liquid content can expand and cause leakage. Also, freezing temperatures can rupture containers as the frozen liquid expands after initial contraction.
You need to check with the carrier to understand the packaging requirements for shipping beverages. Many carriers require you to declare any liquid items you’re shipping and recommend appropriate packing materials to prevent damages and leaks.
Logistics and Customs Restrictions
As a wholesaler shipping food and beverages internationally, you need to be constantly aware of the customs restrictions across various countries. Extensive paperwork and other regulations have to be followed and the criteria are subject to change from country to country.
Make sure you do your research to figure out the logistics and customs restrictions to seamlessly trade with buyers across countries.
There may be additional duties and fees necessary depending on the food items and beverages you’re shipping. You can use the services of a customs broker or freight forwarder if you require them.
If you expect any delays in customs processes, your food items should have refrigerated cargo containers ready to store them at the destination. It is important to have everything planned in advance to prevent unwelcome surprises and losses.