Shipping perishable frozen food direct to the consumer can be a real challenge. It’s no wonder that most ecommerce companies outsource this process to a third-party logistics provider, commonly referred to as a 3PL.
Brands want to do everything possible to have a smooth ordering and shipping process in place. From the moment a customer orders from their ecommerce website or platform through to delivery, there are a lot of moving parts behind the scenes that need to happen efficiently to get the item delivered on time and intact.
How can you make sure you partner with the right frozen food shipping company? What factors do you need to consider? Choosing the right logistics partner can make or break your operation, so it is vital to do your due diligence prior to making a selection.
The Frozen Food Fulfillment Industry Is Changing
The frozen foods sector is no different than any other industry in the sense that it’s constantly evolving. So, one of the first factors you need to consider is the supply and demand dynamic and barriers of entry to get into a facility. A few important points to consider:
- The demand for direct-to-consumer sellers (DTC) is growing.
- More start-ups and small producers are looking to outsource frozen food shipping.
- Large CPG companies who typically sell via retailers are entering the DTC market.
Everything mentioned above is impacting supply, making it increasingly more difficult for startups to find a 3PL that would be willing to take them on with no track record of sales. With limited cold storage capacity, 3PL’s are ideally looking for companies that will do a high sales volume, as they make their money on pick, pack and ship.
Finding a 3PL that is willing to take the risk of bringing on a new brand may prove challenging in the current environment. Consider contracting with a frozen food logistics consultant that has existing relationships with a multitude of logistics companies to help get you in the door, perhaps with one of the small to mid-size players that is looking for new business.
Shipping Your Perishable Frozen Foods from Start to Finish
If you partner with a 3PL, then they should be able to help guide your perishable foods shipping needs. Additionally, a frozen food consultant can assist and work with both you and the 3PL on your behalf. This includes:
- Packaging Your Frozen Goods: Choosing the right size box, finding an appropriate insulated container, select a plastic liner, and choosing the right refrigerant to protect your food (gel, bricks, dry ice, etc.)
- Labeling Your Box: The label on your box will let everyone know that the box is perishable and needs to be kept refrigerated or frozen. If you are using dry ice, this needs to be included on the label as well. Dry ice warning cards should be included in the box if dry ice is being used.
- Selecting Your Box: Depending on the nature of your products, you may need a custom corrugated box to accommodate the size of your items. Stock boxes however would-be a less expensive alternative.
- Branding Your Box: In order to leave the best impression on your customer, consider adding your logo and other relevant graphical elements to the box. Box color also comes into play as you can go with white, brown or custom colors. Branded box tape is also a nice touch to get your brand noticed.
- Collateral Materials: This can be a welcome letter from the CEO, a review request card, discount card, and/or product catalog. The 3PL will include all your collaterals as part of the pick and pack process.
It is important to choose a shipping partner that is located closest to the market you serve. If you plan to ship nationwide, you may need to ship out of two locations (east and west coast for example) in order to keep shipping costs down and ensure speedy transit times.
1–2-day ground is going to be the most cost-effective solution, so it’s important that your 3PL can cover a wide footprint so items do not need to be shipped via air. Generally speaking, frozen foods will stay rock solid when packaged correctly as long as they are delivered within 2 days of shipping. By the 3rd day, you risk thawing, especially in warmer climates or in the summer months.
When Should You Look for a Frozen Food Logistics Company?
If you are trying to decide if now is the right time for you to enlist the help of a 3PL, there are a few signs that you should watch for. These include:
- If you do not have cold storage capabilities, or enough storage for your inventory.
- If you do not have the bandwidth to pick, pack and ship on your own.
- If you are having issues finding the resources to place your business in a position to be successful, then a 3PL can help.
A 3PL can give you another layer of confidence that your orders are going to be shipped and fulfilled on time.
Partner with Gray Growth Logistics
These are just a few important factors that you need to consider if you are looking for a frozen food shipping company. At Gray Growth Logistics, we have the talent, the team and the technology to make your direct-to-consumer operation a success. Additionally, we work hard to stay on top of the latest developments in our industry which puts us in the best possible position to provide you with the service that you deserve. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you with your frozen food shipping needs!