The process of shipping food can vary widely from product to product. When it comes to shipping frozen meat and seafood there is only one opportunity to get this right. Selecting the wrong packaging material could cause the food to thaw if frozen or spoil before it reaches its final destination. In order to avoid financial loss and keep customers happy, it is critical to ship frozen meat and seafood properly. What are some points to consider?
Select Insulated Packaging
First, when shipping frozen meat and seafood, it is critical to select the right insulated packaging. For perishable food, the packaging is the first line of defense. Selecting the right materials is critical to ensuring the meat and seafood arrives at its destination the same way it left the fulfillment center.
When assembling your customer orders, it is also critical to appropriately pad meat and seafood to reduce movement. Otherwise, fish and meat could get damaged during their journey. This is especially true in the case of shellfish, such as crab legs, which can easily crack if not properly protected.
Cold Storage Is Critical
Obviously, one of the most important factors is temperature. Meat and frozen seafood are clearly temperature sensitive. A couple of degrees could separate high-quality meat from being completely spoiled when it arrives. For example, blister packaging, a clamshell, and insulated foam containers are good choices for meat and frozen seafood.
In addition, meat and frozen seafood could melt slightly during the journey. Adding waterproof plastic liners can prevent the boxes from getting wet and becoming soggy.
Next, pick the refrigerant carefully. For products that need to remain frozen, it is a good idea to go with dry ice. If dry ice is not necessary, consider using gel packs. Gel packs will keep food cold between 32 and 60 degrees F. For food that needs to be kept colder than this, select dry ice.
When you are working with dry ice, it is critical to wear gloves. Even though dry ice is incredibly cold, it can still lead to serious burn injuries. When you include dry ice in your shipment, do not wrap it. As carbon dioxide releases, it will start to expand. If it is trapped in an enclosed area, it could explode.
Never allow dry ice to come in contact with the food. Just as dry ice has the potential to burn human skin, it has the potential to burn fish and meat as well.
You’ll also want to include a dry ice warning card in with the shipment if indeed dry ice is being used. Don’t assume your customers know not to touch as the last thing you want is someone to get hurt.
Remember that pathogenic bacteria can grow on food with no impact on appearance, smell, or taste. Therefore, even a couple of hours above 40 degrees F could harm the quality of meat and seafood significantly even if the outer appearance does not change.
Select the Proper Shipping Route
Once the packaging has been handled efficiently, it is time to take a closer look at shipping options. Shipping time is critical, particularly if there are refrigerants being used.
Perishables have to be shipped quickly to minimize transit time. Ideally, meat and frozen seafood should reach their final destination within 2 days. Try to schedule shipments early in the week. That way, the packages do not get stuck somewhere during the weekend. Remember that holidays can impact the shipping process as well.
When shipping nationwide, you’ll want to have fulfillment centers on both coasts. This way, you can ship 2-day ground which keeps your shipping costs low enough to make money. Shipping air is simply not practical as the costs are too high.
Count on Gray Growth Logistics for Help Shipping Frozen Meat and Seafood
If you are looking for a turnkey logistics solution for your meat and/or frozen seafood products then rely on Gray Growth Logistics. We would be happy to offer you a free consultation to evaluate your perishable logistics needs.
We work with both startups as well as established brands and have a over 235 years of experience shipping perishable food direct to the consumer, including meat and seafood.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you develop a program from scratch or scale your existing program, please contact us today! We would be happy to work with you to streamline your direct to consumer operations.