Perishable Packaging Tips
Have you gone online to find concrete, valuable information on how to pack and ship your perishable product safely, only to end up more frustrated than when you started? Simply put, there is not much available information to let one know how to pack and ship their perishable products successfully. The good news is that most any perishable product can be shipped year-round safely and successfully. PeriShip has perishable shipping experts who will provide the knowledge of what one needs to do, as well as a "step-by-step" process of how to pack and ship your product successfully.
PeriShip would love to share information with you on these procedures including guidelines, tips, and detailed directions. Simply provide us with some basic contact information and we will reach out to you as soon as possible regarding your potential shipping and packaging needs! Click here for more information about packaging.
For information about Allelopathy and how it affects packaging your product, click here.
Cakes, pastries, breads? No problem. These items can be shipped successfully year-round. Most cakes, pastries, pizza, and raw dough should be shipped frozen, particularly if the baked good has icing. Shipping using dry ice is a great way to ensure your items stay frozen in transit.
Are you shipping a baked good made from all natural ingredients? You may want to consider using gels. If you've done tests to confirm freezing your product is safe then great! However, freezing certain products could damage the integrity; gel shipping is a good alternative in these cases. Most baked goods have a high fat content, thus having a higher melting point. This means the product will defrost at a faster rate, therefore, packing tips become very important to ensure safe deliveries. Attention will be made to each as to determine the best method of shipping (refrigerant and packing tips).
While cheese falls under the category of "dairy" it really deserves its own section. In general, cheeses of all types ship very well year-round; however, a distinction needs to be made between "hard" and "soft" cheese -- and further still between hard, semi-hard, soft, and semi-soft cheeses. Basically, hard cheeses are made from unpasteurized milk and are aged (ripened) which depletes moisture and makes them drier. These cheeses easily ship year-round (even in Summer!) with extended transit and do not require gels. Although refrigeration is not required it is recommended. It's important to know the mindset of your customers: in the US most people believe cheeses need to be kept cold and may refuse a shipment that was not refrigerated. In this case a refrigerated gel contained inside the package is advised.
Most cheeses made in the US are soft cheeses made with pasteurized milk. As the product is more uniform and consistent, they also ship well year-round but need refrigerated gels and transit becomes more limited in the summer.
Surprisingly delicate to ship, there are a number of factors to consider when dealing with chocolate. Firstly, chocolate is very sensitive to temperature; it begins melting at 90 degrees Fahrenheit when the cocoa butter starts to heat, and melts completely between 104 - 113 degrees Fahrenheit. It's also sensitive to moisture and humidity levels above 50%. Chocolate needs to be stored properly away from heat, light, and other foods. Strong odors can be absorbed by the chocolate and potentially ruin its taste. If the chocolate is stored improperly an effect called “blooming” will take place. Blooming takes place when the chocolate absorbs enough moisture to cause a whitish discoloration and fat or sugar crystals rise to the surface. In addition, when the chocolate is subject to extreme temperatures it will develop an oily texture. Although this phenomenon makes the chocolate visually unappealing, it is still safe for consumption.
Milk, butter, eggs, and various creams can be successfully shipped year-round. Frozen yogurt, ice cream, and butter need to be shipped frozen - the best way to refrigerate these for extended transit is with dry ice (frozen gels can be used but transit would be limited). All other dairy would be shipped in standard refrigeration with gels, while certain items, such as eggs, would require additional infrastructure packing. The ideal shipping temperature for most dairy items is around 38F°.
Ice cream, and other frozen dairy desserts require no preservatives. They need to be kept below -10° F and to be protected from temperature fluctuations. Airtight packaging materials are required to ensure the product arrives without loss of flavor, body and texture.
Fish, shellfish, and various seafood. Shipped successfully all year, these items need to be refrigerated with gel packs during transit and kept in an environment between 38°-48°F year-round.
One very important consideration when packaging and shipping fresh produce is to identify "soft" products (such as peaches or heirloom tomatoes). This type of produce will need to be separated or have each individual item contained in such a way as to avoid damage. Because of their delicate nature these items can be damaged very easily, even from having the individual units collide with each other during shipping.
Another factor to consider is something known as "chilling injury" or "chilling damage". Some fruits and vegetables cannot be packed in an environment with temperatures that are too low otherwise they will be irreversibly damaged.
All products in this category ship quite well (frozen or fresh) with proper care. If shipping frozen we recommend the use of dry ice, as it will best preserve the temperature and integrity of the items; however, frozen gel can be used for limited transit. With fresh products particular attention is important. Fresh items can ONLY be shipped with gel, as dry ice will cause the items to become frozen, and without proper packing the items may spoil or be overly exposed to moisture.
When selecting your packaging some other things to consider are: 1) insulation value and 2) dehydration. As you probably know, maintaining proper temperature is a key component to successful shipping of perishables, and fish is definitely an item we don't want losing its cool. Improper packaging can lend to unwanted moisture or unwanted dehydration of your products. We'll be happy to guide you in the right direction on these things.
For shipments of fresh seafood: the product should be sealed in polyethylene bags, moisture-proof containers should be used, and wet ice should be avoided. Airlines are very sensitive about leaking shipments of seafood and usually conduct "tip tests" before accepting shipments. If your package fails it'll be quite a hassle so it's better to be sure ahead of time.
Juices of all types are shipped successfully - can be frozen or refrigerated. Frozen juices ship quite well with dry ice or frozen gels, since they could arrive slightly defrosted and still be fine. Natural juices can only be shipped with gels as they are made with natural ingredients and have a defined shelf life. For juices and drinks that are primarily made from pasteurized juice or concentrates, dry ice is also an option.
In the case of juice cleanses, many manufacturers use cold-pressure hydraulic methods of extraction from organic produce. These methods are used to avoid heat that is associated with grinding or blending methods. PeriShip has the experience of helping many leading juice cleanse makers to meet their expectation.
Red meats and various types of game (bird or otherwise). For the most part these products ship well when frozen - even during extended transit time. Keep in mind: frozen meat is essentially a refrigerant in itself, and adding either dry ice or frozen gels to the shipment will only extend transit further.
Most fresh meat needs to be maintained between 33° to 42° F. More expensive cuts may need to be between 33° to 38° F, and can only be shipped with gel packs. In winter, extended transit is possible; however, in summer, although two day shipping is possible, overnight shipping is advised for optimal freshness.
For precooked meats, dry ice would be preferred as the refrigerant of choice, although frozen gels can also be adequate for extended transit. If a shipment arrived slightly defrosted it could be refrozen and still remain within safe, acceptable temperature ranges.
Unprepared foods, such as salads or others containing raw meats, need to be shipped with gels to maintain ideal temps.