Best Practices for Shipping Food to Your Customers

The online food business is on the rise. During this pandemic, people have come up with ideas to sell almost every kind of product through the internet. But with delivering or shipping the products to your customers, the rules are different for different industries. If you are selling food products, you have to know about the hassles and risks of shipping food.

Shipping food is not a straightforward job. It differs from shipping consumer products, electronic devices, or any other non-perishable product. Different food needs to be preserved in different ways in order to be shipped properly. If you are selling food, eventually you will need to find out about the policies and guidelines of shipping food.

If the food gets spoiled during the delivery or shipment, it will look terrible on your brand image. Therefore, if you are in the food industry and are looking to make international sales, you need to learn the best practices for shipping food to your customers. Once you know how to ship food, you can deliver it to customers in any part of the world.

Most of the food is perishable. But how soon it will perish depends on the type of food. There are three major categories of food that we will talk about.

  • Cold food
  • Frozen food
  • Meat

How to Ship Cold Food?

You would be surprised to know that food like fresh fruits and some fresh dairy products like cheeses can be shipped to customers. They just need to meet a few conditions.

  • Use ice packs for packing the food.
  • Either vacuum-seal the food or seal in plastic bags.
  • Mark the packet as ‘Perishable - Keep Refrigerated’. Make sure the label is visible enough. This will notify the recipient that this food needs to be frozen or refrigerated as soon as they receive the packet.
  • After shipping food, it is the recipient’s responsibility to open the packet immediately and ensure the food is still cold. They will need to use a food thermometer to confirm this. The food temperature should not go above 41 degrees, and if it does, it should be considered spoiled and not eaten.

Wines or other liquids also come in this category. If you are shipping food that melts easily or drinks like wine, you need to double-bag them with watertight plastic bags. For extra care, use a 2-mil plastic liner to line the foam box on the inside. Apply 2 inches of padding around any glass bottles or other fragile items that contain liquids.

How to Ship Frozen Food?

Shipping food that’s frozen is even trickier than shipping refrigerated items. But it is still possible. For shipping frozen food, you need to follow the guidelines given below.

  • Use dry ice to pack the food. The ice will maintain the coolness for at least a while. It needs to be used with caution.
  • Use goggles and gloves while packing and handling frozen food. This is to protect your skin from getting burned or exposed.
  • Avoid shipping frozen food overseas. Although shipping frozen food to other countries is possible, it is not recommended.
  • The dry ice should not get in contact with the food. First, seal the food tightly in plastic bags, and then wrap it with dry ice on the outside of the bags.
  • Get information from the shipping carrier to confirm the amount of dry ice that can be used for shipping food.
  • Comply with all the rules of the shipping carrier.
  • Inform the recipient that the package has dry ice in it. Label that on the package clearly and visibly.

For shipping food in winters, remember that shipping frozen food is at risk of getting freezer burned. This may damage the food and your brand image. To avoid this situation, heat up the refrigerant packs. Place the frozen food inside the container and place the refrigerant packs around it. Preserve at room temperature or at 68 degrees Fahrenheit max. Pour in some packing peanuts to fill up any empty space. This will keep the items in one place. Put the insulated container inside a cardboard box, and ship it to your customer.

How to Ship Meat?

Shipping meat differs from shipping frozen food or cold food. It, therefore, needs a different shipping policy. With meat, the package should ideally reach the recipient overnight. The meat needs to remain cold, or else it will get spoiled. Meat is very perishable. Make sure to mark the container on the outside as ‘Keep Refrigerated’.

When meat arrives at the recipient, its temperature should not be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether the meat is cured, smoked or vacuum packed, its temperature needs to be maintained below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use a combination of dry ice and cold packs for shipping food that contains meat. If the meat is frozen, use more dry ice to keep it cooler.

How to Ship Perishable Food Internationally?

Perishable foods are very vulnerable to temperature. Frozen foods are also perishable food items. It is best not to ship perishable food internationally. The food will probably get spoiled before getting to the destination.

Even shipping food internationally that’s non-perishable requires you to check for a few things with the destination country. Every country has some restrictions on international shipping. You can either get this information online or check with another food company that sells overseas.

  • Always use the original manufacturer’s label and packaging.
  • Seal the food properly.
  • List all the food ingredients.
  • Check with the destination point if the package is accepted when it arrives.

Additional Best Practices for Shipping Food

Here are some additional best practices for shipping food that will help you make sure your food items reach the destination safely.

  1. It is not a good idea to offer free shipping for food products. Charge your customers for shipping to cover your shipping costs.
  2. Charge the same price for shipping food locally and remotely.
  3. Choose the most cost-effective shipping method.
  4. Always include the ‘time in transit’ in your shipping costs.
  5. Be strategic with the food box size. Try to reduce packaging inventory as much as possible.
  6. Maintain communication with the customer throughout the shipping process.
  7. Test the food items before shipping them. Trying to cut corners could cost you a lot.
  8. Test your packaging method. Try shipping the food order from one branch of your company to another. Request the other branch to send it back to you. See if the process works fine.
  9. Take time to design your shipping labels.
  10. Get all the information you need before shipping food items.

How Strikingly Makes Shipping Food Products Easy?

Strikingly is a website building platform where we provide features that make every process of running, promoting, and maintaining your website easy. If you build your site on Strikingly, you will get the following benefits for shipping food.

1. Track Your Orders Conveniently

Integrate our order management tool with your online store on Strikingly. The system allows you to accept, track and process every order you get on the website. When your orders are tracked carefully, your shipment can also always be on time. If there is a delay in shipping food to any customer, you can inform them of the issue pre-hand.

Screenshot of Strikingly editor showing the order management page

Image taken from Strikingly

2. Enable Multiple Payment Methods

Strikingly allows you to accept payments from your customers via different payment methods. Your customers can choose to pay the product price and the shipping cost with their debit/credit cards, or via any other payment gateway that you select in your website’s editor.

Screenshot of Strikingly editor showing the payment methods

Image taken from Strikingly

3. Choose and Set Your Shipping Options

There is a ‘Shipping’ section in the Strikingly editor. There you’ll see by default you will be set to charge a flat rate for shipping food on all orders you receive. If you upgrade to the Strikingly Pro Plan, you will also be able to set up different rates for shipping food to your customers from different parts of the world.

Strikingly editor shipping settings screenshot

Image taken from Strikingly

Strikingly editor screenshot showing how to set up shipping option

Image taken from Strikingly

4. Add a Shipping Policy to your Strikingly Online Store

By adding a shipping policy to your online store, you can clarify to your customers how much you charge for shipping food to them. You can also include any other warnings or instructions about shipping. It is better to keep your customers informed of the rules, policies, and situations at all times.

5. Know When You Are Out of Stock

You cannot ship an item to your customers that’s out of stock in your Strikingly store. When you track your orders mindfully, you can notice which items are running out of stock, and buy or prepare them immediately if there is a demand for them. Being out of stock for most of your store’s products for a long time gives a negative impression about your business. You cannot be shipping food items that are not available to you. The Strikingly system helps you keep track of the inventory you have available for each of your food items.

A strikingly user out of stock for the items on its online store

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

If you want to build a website on Strikingly, you can begin by signing up for your free account with us. Whether or not you are running a business in the food industry, you will not regret spending time on our platform to showcase your products or services. We have users from many industries, some of whom sell products online through the website they create with us, while others run a blog or a simple brand website.

We have tons of templates available which provide you with a ready-made web design, so that you can straight away start keying in your website content into your web pages. Our support team is available to guide you on every step of the way. For the most instant responses on queries about shipping food or anything else, you can contact us through our live chat feature, which you can also add to your website to allow your site visitors to get in touch with you.