A lot can go wrong when shipping perishable items by mail through carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS and others.
From high temperatures to bacteria growth, and even to the deterioration of the product, there are several ways a perishable product can be damaged on the way to the destination.
Plus, with FDA regulations and restrictions on shipping perishables becoming stricter than ever before, diligent small business owners and managers have to take great care when it comes to food safety, because of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Failing to do so can lead to penalties, fines, losing business and eating into profits.
Ensuring your perishable item is shipped in the proper, temperature-sensitive environment is critical to minimizing loss, preventing spoiling, and ensuring each delivery arrives fresh and intact at its destination. The best way to ship perishables is by using gel ice packs, and styrofoam shipping coolers.
If you’re a small business owner or startup, you might be wondering…
What types of perishables can you ship by mail? And what types of products need to be packed in temperature-safe containers?
Read below to discover 6 different types of perishable products that need to be shipped in temperature-safe containers (and how you can make sure they’re safely packaged through the delivery process).
6 Types of Perishable Products that Require Temperature-Safe Containers
USPS defines anything perishable as “anything that can deteriorate in the mail and thereby lose value, create a health hazard, or cause an obnoxious odor, nuisance, or disturbance, under ordinary mailing conditions. Mailable perishable matter may be sent at the mailer’s own risk when it is packaged as required and when it can be delivered within appropriate and reasonable time limits to prevent deterioration.”
Here are 6 of the most popular perishables you can ship by mail:
1. Food, Meat, and Seafood
The most common perishable shipped across America every day is food. Meat, seafood, poultry, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and many more. These foods need to be kept at low temperatures (and sometimes freezing) by using gel ice packs and styrofoam coolers. This ensures they to stay fresh and prevent any potential spoiling or deterioration.
2. Beverages, Drinks, Specialty Alcohols
Along with food products, the second most common perishable sent by mail is beverages.
Milk, cream, and fruit and vegetable juices can also grow bacteria if not packed properly. They can begin to spoil if they’re not packed with proper insulation and gel ice packs to keep the temperature of the shipment low.
Another common beverage retailers have to be careful with is specialty alcohol or liqueurs, as well as certain ales or beers. Depending on the type of alcoholic beverage, it may require a cool temperature in order to properly preserve the drink.
3. Ready-to-Eat & Prepared Meal Kits
Another commonly shipped perishable growing in popularity every year is meal kits. Freshly packaged, ready-to-eat meal kits delivered from retailer to home are becoming more commonplace due to the growth of e-commerce and convenience for busy professionals.
According to a Chicago food industry consulting firm, Pentallect, “Meal kits are now a $2.2 billion business and continue to gain speed…” They go on to predict that the “annual growth will be 25-30% over the next half-decade.”
Because these meal kits have already been prepared to eat, there’s an even bigger need for properly packaging and gel ice packs to maintain temperature. Some of these meals will be sitting at a homeowner’s doorstep for hours before they come home from work, which means they need to be kept outside of Food Safe’s “danger zone” of 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent rapid bacteria growth.
4. Plants/Agriculture, Fish & Reptile Farming
Flowers, plants, live animals, and other agriculture products have been a challenge for agriculture and flower industries to ship for decades. Even though many delivery trucks in these industries may be air-conditioned, flowers, plants, animals, and other forms of agriculture can quickly wilt, or be damaged if not stored and cooled properly.
Certain plants and animals have to be kept at low temperatures to survive. Certain live animals, such as lobsters or crabs need to be properly cooled with gel ice packs and styrofoam shipping coolers in order to stay alive.
Also, if the environment around plants or flowers is altered for too long, it can prevent them from receiving oxygen or receiving nutrients through the soil. Plus, low temperatures also slow the growth of potentially harmful micro-organisms or other bacteria growing alongside the plants.
Making sure the temperature is cool enough will not only help the plants survive but will also ensure they live a long life. This ensures that Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day delivery is a meaningful one.
Several specialty medications have to be kept within strict temperature ranges to ensure they arrive at their destinations safely and in the right condition.
For these medications, they have to be shipped by a process called cold chain logistics which can involve refrigerators, cold storage facilities and shipping containers (CTA). These processes are put in place so temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals make it from factory or pharmacy to the destination without damage.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines the requirements of appropriate storage conditions for various drugs.
Because of the growth of e-commerce and demographics statistics, mail order pharmaceuticals are growing in popularity every year. As e-commerce software becomes more sophisticated, personalization and demographics information will allow an even greater increase in mail-order drug deliveries over time. Even Uber offers a pharmacy delivery service.
6. Anything That Could Melt
The final most popular perishable you can ship by mail is anything outside the items above that could melt if the temperature is not properly maintained. There are thousands of consumer items that could melt if left in the heat or the sun. Various perishables in this category include:
- Cosmetics (i.e. lipstick)
- Wax items (i.e. crayons, candles)
- Collectibles (i.e. tapes or record albums)
- Miscellaneous plastic items (i.e. beads, utensils, toys, auto parts, etc.)
Small business owners and retailers need to make sure they’re aware of the possible damage or alterations that could happen during the shipping process if they have a product that is heat-sensitive. Making sure there is sufficient insulation by using styrofoam coolers to package any of the products above is vital to keep temperatures low.
Conclusion? For Temperature-Sensitive Shipping, Send It With LoBoy Coolers!
These six categories make up the most popular products small business owners are shipping out every day across America that require proper temperature-sensitive packaging.
Whether you’re shipping steaks, seafood, beverages, or medicine, or other perishables, it’s crucial you take the proper precautions to make sure your products arrive safely and intact at your customer’s door.
Want to find out how you can make sure your perishable products get delivered perfectly every time? To ship your perishables using styrofoam shipping coolers and ice packs for coolers, contact us here.