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Smart WarehousingAug 20, 2021 8:50:38 AM5 min read

Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping Frozen Food

Frozen food can be one of the trickiest products to ship, opening up the possibility for costly mistakes that impact your bottom line. As demand increases for frozen food, businesses need to make sure they are shipping their frozen food products correctly.

According to the American Frozen Food Institute, over the past year 42% of households that buy frozen foods have done so online, a large increase from the 23% in 2018. With this increase in demand for frozen food, you want to make sure that your shipping process for your frozen food is efficient and that you’re not making any major mistakes that could cost you time and money.

Bad Packaging 

One of the most common mistakes you can make when shipping frozen food is not packaging your products properly. Packaging is the first line of defense for your frozen food, so you want to make sure the packaging not only keeps your product cold but also protects it from being damaged.

If the packaging for your most inner layer is not waterproof or lined with waterproof sheets, you could end up with a leaky parcel. Your frozen product could leak or seep through and damage the rest of your wrapping. As an extra precaution, you can even add an absorbent pad or mat to your inner layer. You also want your packaging around the product to have an airtight seal when you’re shipping frozen food. This airtight seal will help prevent any heat or humidity from affecting your product. 

You will want to use multiple layers when shipping frozen food. While your inner layer will need to be waterproof and airtight, extra layers of protection will help keep the product cold and prevent damage. Using a non-insulated container is a fast way to have your product lose heat and spoil. Make sure you use sturdy insulated foam containers or something similar to help keep your frozen food cold during the shipping process.

When picking out packaging, make sure you’re picking the right size container. If your container is too big, your product can move around and get bruised or damaged. It could also lead to any coolants you’re using being damaged as well. 


Not Using the Right Coolants for Shipping Frozen Food

Just because you have the right packaging doesn’t guarantee your frozen food will stay cold during transit. An important addition to your packaging should be a good coolant or refrigerant to keep your food frozen. There are two very common types of coolants —  gel packs and dry ice. Using regular ice as a means to keep your food frozen is a bad idea as regular ice can be heavy, weighing down your package and costing you more money in shipping. It can also melt and dampen your packaging. 

Not using coolants can lead to temperature fluctuations while your food is being shipped. These fluctuations can lead to your product melting, becoming spoiled or ruined very quickly. Make sure to either have a 3PL provider who knows which coolants to use or research whether dry ice or gel packs would be best for your product.

Misusing Dry Ice

Dry ice is a popular option for most companies when shipping frozen food, especially when you’re trying to keep your food in a certain degree range. A common mistake companies make when using dry ice is they don’t package it or handle it correctly. Dry ice can be dangerous and is considered a hazardous material. 

Dry ice cannot be packed in an airtight container. If placed in an airtight container, pressure can build up from the dry ice and it can cause it to explode. It can also cause glass to crack. You must make sure you are using special containers when packaging dry ice to avoid a rupture and damage your product. 

Along with making sure you package the dry ice correctly, you also want to use the right amount of dry ice. If you’re shipping frozen food and you expect it to take two days, you want to have enough dry ice to keep your frozen food cold for at least two days. It would be best to have an extra amount of dry ice with your package in case there are delays.

Slow Shipping 

Great packaging won’t save you if you are shipping your frozen foods slowly. Choosing a slower shipping speed or not accounting for possible delays could lead to issues with your product. It is best to get your frozen food to its destinations in 2-3 days. A good tip is to schedule shipments early in the week so you don’t have to worry about it getting stuck in transit over the weekend. Be aware of upcoming holidays that could delay your shipping as well. 

If you want to be the go-to for shipping frozen food, you want to make sure your shipping process is spot on and your customers are getting your food in great condition. The market for online frozen food shopping is growing. The American Frozen Food Institute says online frozen food dollar sales increased 75% in 2020. Take advantage of the demand and make sure your shipping frozen food correctly so you can grow your business.

Use a 3PL Provider With a Proven Track Record

At Smart Warehousing, we offer 1-2 day shipping to 100% of the country. We can be your turnkey frozen fulfillment partner and help you meet the needs of your customers. We can handle any frozen specifications you have. We can help deal with dry ice, cooler boxes, or gel packs. Our team can even help you decide the best option out there to ensure your product arrives fresh. You don’t have to meet all the demands of shipping frozen food on your own. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you meet your frozen food needs, please contact our team at any time to get started.