Shipping food and beverage items -- whether across the country or across the world -- requires careful preparation, packaging and handling. The loss of these items in transit means lost revenue, however by adequately preparing perishable goods for transit, businesses can realize less damage of goods, fewer customer complaints and significant cost savings.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) defines a shipment as perishable if its contents will deteriorate over a given period of time if exposed to harsh environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures or humidity. Examples of perishable food items include seafood, dairy, plants, meat, fruits and vegetables. Timing is critical when shipping perishable goods because shelf life is at stake.

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With the right shipping products and careful packaging, your food items will arrive at their destination, at the appropriate temperature, safe and sound, regardless of the harsh weather conditions they're subjected to. Here are some tips and tricks to help prevent your food and beverage items from arriving spoiled to your customers -- and in turn spoiling your reputation.

  1. Plan Ahead

    Knowing about and complying with U.S. government perishable-shipment regulations, such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, can be difficult and time-consuming. However, by planning ahead and complying with not only U.S. government regulations (as well as regulations abroad), you can ensure that your goods arrive on time and unspoiled. The last thing you want is having your food and beverage items tied up in Customs.

  2. Consider Transit Time

    One of the most important factors when shipping perishable items is the transit time. The longer it takes for your perishable shipment to be delivered, the more likely its quality will suffer. Ship food and beverage products via an expedited service (preferably next day), but keep in mind that this can become costly and discourage customers from a purchase. You don't want your goods to spoil en route, but you want to balance speed with cost.

  3. It’s All in the Packaging

    Packaging your shipment correctly — including shipping containers and packing materials — is essential to keeping the perishables fresh until they're delivered to your customers. Wrap foods securely with foil or plastic wrap and pack and snugly as possible to keep items intact. Protect jars and bottles (UPS recommends at least 2 inches of cushioning around fragile items like glass) and make sure they are well sealed.

    To keep food or beverage items cold, use dry ice or frozen gel packs. Dry ice stays cold longer but is considered a hazardous material, so make sure to separate it from food with cardboard and/or plastic wrap (and wear gloves and goggles when handling).

    Getting your food and beverage goods to your customer as cost-effectively as possible, in the shortest transit time possible, along with proper packaging, will allow you to deliver the best end product to your customers. Work with a shipping and logistics partner who understands how to deal with both temperature and time-sensitive goods and can cut perishable turn times and reduce distribution costs so you can focus on your core revenue-generating activities. Give the IntegraCore team a call at 800-410-7555 and find out more or get a quote online today.