How to Get Lobster to Customers By Mail With Best Results
There’s a lot of money in shipping lobsters from source to distribution to outlet all the way to the customer, and we've provided some lobster shipping tips using Insulated Styrofoam Coolers (lobster shippers and box kits) to help your business make and keep happy, loyal customers.
According to Financial Post, in 2018, the state of Maine brought in over $484 million in lobster sales alone. The problem is that so much financial reward brings a lot of risk for any company that sends a lobster to the end user with anything less than stellar, ready-to-eat product quality.
Lobsters (and other seafood) are one of the hardest products to ship because it is so delicate and sensitive to temperature changes during transit and handling. So, businesses involved in the packaging and shipping lobster for public consumption make insulation and thermal protection a top priority so that the end result is a positive customer experience of these gourmet crustaceans.
When a business owner gets the shipping aspect of the lobster supply chain, the rewards are end user satisfaction, customer loyalty, business referrals and great word of mouth.. However, whether they’re being shipped in bulk or individually, it takes a lot of hard work and planning to figure out the most effective way to ship a lobster. Shipping lobsters is one of the most challenging items to ship because it can be easily compromised.
Shipping lobsters dead (or alive) has its fair share of complexities. From quality control to temperature maintenance, it’s a challenge seafood distributors face every day. Even using the wrong refrigerant can spoil the shipment.
America’s favorite seafood isn’t easy to ship, but with the right techniques, you can make sure your lobsters arrive safe, fresh, and intact every time. Keep reading to discover lobsters different shipping requirements, how to keep them moist, and how to make sure they maintain the proper temperature so they don’t spoil before they arrive.
Here are a few things you need to take into consideration that will save you time, money, and a world of frustration when you’re shipping lobsters and other seafood.
Materials You’ll Need For Shipping Lobsters
Here are a few of the materials you’ll need to make sure your lobster shipments arrive intact every time:
- Insulated Styrofoam Shipping Kits
- Gel Ice Packs
- Rubber bands (for claws)
- Wet Paper or Seaweed (for maintaining moisture and coolness)
- Optional: Dry Ice (Frozen lobsters only)
Making sure you first start out by getting the right tools and packing supplies to ship your lobsters out will make your job much easier, so you don’t have to backtrack later on.
Let’s take a look at the proper practices to see what exactly is involved in shipping lobsters (whether they’re dead or alive).
3 Tips for Shipping Live Lobsters
Lobsters can be packed, shipped, and transported in several ways:
- Live or Dead
- Chilled or Frozen
- In Parts or Whole
The biggest factor in how they need to be shipped lies in whether they’re dead or alive. Live lobsters are especially sensitive to any changes in temperature, they must be better secured than dead lobsters, and they also need access to oxygen.
Before shipping live lobsters, follow these steps:
1. Try not to feed them for about 2-3 days before shipping.
By purposefully avoiding feeding them, they will be much more relaxed during delivery and will also require less oxygen.
2. Make sure to wrap rubber bands around their claws.
If you’ve ever been pinched by a lobster, you know how sharp their claws can be. Putting a rubber band around their claws prevents them from piercing through the packaging or potentially hurting themselves. Banding lobsters’ claws also ensures they won’t be able to harm your customer when they open up your shipment (preventing your shipment from harming your customer is an easy (and essential) part of keeping your customer happy.)
3. It’s vital you keep the lobsters cool.
A small increase in temperature (or reduction in moisture levels) during delivery can potentially kill live lobsters. This will, of course, spoil the lobsters, making the product useless, costing you money, and potentially upsetting your customer.
Some lobster shipping managers and workers like to use moist newspaper or seaweed to pack in with the cargo to prevent drying out and help keep lobsters cool.
These are just a few general requirements. However, there are varying tactics and methods depending on the region you’re shipping the lobsters. Many areas have their own regulations concerning shipping live animals.
Take note of local shipping laws. Some may require you to carry a special permit. Others may require you to ship lobsters or other seafood a particular way, or some may even restrict the transport of live animals.
Shipping Coolers for Lobsters
Styrofoam shipping box kits, like the LoBoy Styrofoam Shipping Coolers, are the most ideal container for shipping lobsters. They are made from a reinforced, protective foam that protects lobsters (live or dead) from their surroundings.
The lobsters are also kept safe and secure since the insulated styrofoam shipping coolers provide a protective cushioning. This makes it easy to ship any type of lobster, whether live or dead, chilled or frozen, or even whole or in parts.
Gel Ice Packs for Shipping Lobsters
Making sure your lobsters are kept cool and moist is essential to keeping them fresh during transport.
You should never ship your lobsters with dry ice, as it will freeze and eventually crack lobster shells, and the carbon dioxide released can suffocate them. This will damage the lobsters, and potentially spoil them by the time they arrive so they’re unusable.
The only reason you may want to consider using dry ice is if you are shipping frozen lobsters. Combining dry ice with gel ice packs is an effective way to keep your shipments frozen for longer.
Remember to use gel ice packs over regular ice. If you use regular ice, it will melt throughout the trip which could potentially spoil the lobsters (and create a soggy shipment). By using gel ice packs, you’ll be able to keep your lobsters cool for the entire trip without the mess.
Because gel ice packs are lighter than regular ice, they ensure a more cost-effective shipment. Also, once your shipment arrives, you don’t need to chuck out the gel ice packs.
Many seafood delivery companies have a reusability program. You can set up a system to retrieve used gel ice packs every time you drop off a shipment. It’s a smart way you can lower waste, and save money on shipping expenses.
Be sure to check out our LoBoy Gel Ice Reusable Ice Packs. They’re a leak-resistant, 4-millimeter refrigerant sleeve containing space-age, long-lasting refrigerant gel that stays frozen longer than ice.
Shipping Lobsters Safely Every Time
By using both gel ice packs and shipping coolers for lobsters, you’ll be able to ensure your lobster and other seafood cargo is delivered as fresh as possible.
Shipping lobsters is no easy task.
But by following these methods, and by using these materials, you can rest easy knowing they’ll arrive safely. Plus, your customers will be happy receiving a fresh shipment every time (which means more people will get to enjoy these tasty, red-shelled crustaceans).