Using Quality Styrofoam Coolers for Shipping Prepared Meals and Ready-to-Eat Food By Mail
For the busy millennial, mail-order meal kits and ready-to-eat meals are a dream come true. Rather than spending hours trying to figure out their next meal after a long day's work, they’re opting-in to letting someone else cook.
The rise of the fast-paced, health-conscious individual has made mail-order meals and meal kits the hottest trend in the food industry in the 21st century. But as a small business owner, how can you take advantage of this opportunity?
Maybe you’re a chef, or you have a team of professional cooks who can whip up some amazing meals. You’ve got the perfect recipes that are sure to impress anybody who gets a taste. But, it’s one thing to craft the perfect dish…
It’s a whole new ball game when you’re shipping prepared meals!
Mailing ready-to-eat meals is an incredible way to get your delicious food to a wide customer base. However, you need to understand how to ship prepared meals so they don’t turn up spoiled because they couldn’t hold their temperature during transport.
Since many of these meals will be waiting at your customer’s front door for hours before they come home from work, you’ll need to make sure your meals stay fresh. Not only that, but you’ll need to make sure you understand the USDA Mail Order Food Safety to ensure your business is compliant with the guidelines.
Here are several tips on shipping prepared meals that you’ll want to know to avoid food waste and upset customers, ensuring your meals get delivered fresh every time.
How to Ship Prepared Meals
Large companies like Freshly, Daily Harvest, and Blue Apron can make shipping prepared meals look easy. As a smaller food curator, selling perishables meals online (especially refrigerated or frozen food) can seem daunting.
Distributing food products requires more than making sure the food doesn’t bounce around in its container. Mailing ready-to-eat meals must be done under proper conditions so the safety and quality of the food won’t be compromised during delivery.
1. Use Properly Insulated Styrofoam Shipping Coolers
In order to make sure your meals arrive in optimal condition, you’ll need to make sure the temperature is regulated. Using insulated styrofoam coolers is the best way you can ensure your food remains the proper temperature when shipping prepared meals.
It’s important to make sure you pick the right shipping cooler for your meals to ensure they keep the temperature locked in during delivery. It’s easy for the heat to break into a low-quality container, especially if the walls are too thin. You’ll want to use a high-quality styrofoam cooler that has thick walls for proper insulation.
If you want to ensure your meals are delivered fresh every time, check out our LoBoy Styrofoam Shipping Coolers.
2. Package Any Liquids in Watertight Plastic
Leaking, soggy boxes aren’t easy to ship. They can be a nightmare for your delivery driver (and won’t be a pleasant surprise for your customer either). Avoiding a leaky box is as easy as lining the inside of your shipping cooler with a plastic liner. Make sure it’s a thick plastic or it could be punctured during delivery.
Next, place an absorbent mat or pad on the liner. You’ll want to place your items in a watertight plastic bag for extra safety. Even with the best delivery driver, liquids like soups and juices can still end up making their way out of their packaging during transportation.
3. Use the Right Refrigerant for Cold or Frozen Meals
When mailing ready-to-eat meals, you have to be aware of the delivery times. Whether you’re shipping meals across the city, or across the state, you’ll need to make sure the container stays cool.
In the past, regular ice packs were used as the main refrigerant during food deliveries. Food delivery companies quickly realized how messy this method really was. The ice always melted sooner or later, and that meant a big, soggy mess. Not to mention, the ice added a ton of weight to each shipment, adding unnecessary costs to the process. Thankfully, there’s another solution.
Gel ice packs are the best bet for keeping your meals and meal kits cool during delivery.
Because they’re much lighter than ice, they create a more cost-effective shipment. Plus, they’re versatile. Depending on your specific style of meal delivery service, you may need to keep your shipments cold or frozen. Gel ice packs are able to keep your meals cool or frozen, depending on what you’re needing.
Plus, once your shipment is delivered, you can reuse the gel ice packs over and over again. Many meal delivery companies have a gel ice pack and container recycling program. This allows them to retrieve used gel ice packs from customers when a new meal is delivered. This is extremely effective in saving you time (and a lot of money in shipment expenses).
If you want the best gel ice packs for shipping prepared meals, make sure to check out the LoBoy Gel-Ice Reusable Gel Ice Packs. They’re a leak-resistant 4-millimeter refrigerant sleeve containing space-age, long-lasting refrigerant gel that stays frozen longer than ice.
Final Thoughts on Shipping Prepared Meals
Maybe you want to make a name for yourself in the meal delivery industry like Chef’d, Daily Harvest, or Freshly. Or perhaps, you simply want to make sure every customer you serve receives a gourmet delivery.
If you want to achieve (and maintain) status as a gourmet meal or meal kit, you have to make sure your meals arrive in gourmet quality. It means ensuring optimal freshness, flavor, and shelf life once your meal arrives at your customer’s door. It also means maintaining a specific temperature during transportation with minimal (if any) temperature fluctuations.
To accomplish this, you need to make sure your meals are being shipped using the highest quality insulation techniques. Our LoBoy Styrofoam Shipping Coolers can give you the peace of mind of knowing your meals will arrive fresh every time.
Whether you’re mailing ready to eat meals or meal kits one at a time, or you’re delivering in bulk, you’ll be able to ensure temperature control throughout the entire delivery.