How to Ship Frozen Food: Tips for Managing Produce Shipping Season

Springtime traditionally marks the start of the shipping season for fresh produce. Peaking in late spring, loads of fresh produce start filling shipping lanes from southern states. Most fruit and vegetable farmers, as well as importers, start to look for the capacity to distribute their products across the country when the demand for fresh produce greatly increases.

Grocery stores, supermarkets, and restaurants need seasonal fruit and veggies to sustain their businesses. Refrigerated capacity is normally tight during this season. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this capacity shortage because a great chunk of carriers with cold containers are needed to ship the COVID-19 vaccine. This means shippers will need to be more proactive when planning their fresh produce and frozen food shipping strategy.

When is the produce shipping season?

The produce season usually starts in April and lasts till the end of summer. It is the peak season for fresh produce farmers and distributors, making it one of the busiest seasons of the year. Regardless of the circumstances, greenery and veggies are always in high demand during this time. As fresh food items are transported only through refrigerated trucks, the temperature-controlled capacity begins to tighten, and freight rates sometimes increase as much as 30%.

Tips for shipping fresh products: how to ship frozen food

It is extremely important to build an effective logistics strategy to manage your cold food shipping with no disruptions.

Plan your food shipping strategy ahead

The key to a successful produce shipping season is understanding the truckload demand and specifics of regional distribution. If you plan to work with high-quality carriers, start navigating the market in early spring. Also, fresh produce is typically harvested in the southern states, so these areas will be the busiest during peak season. To understand the trends in this tight market, create a proper shipping plan that will help you successfully move your frozen food and produce.

Properly package frozen food for shipping

When it comes to shipping frozen food, successful order fulfillment depends heavily on how you pack and protect your products. The appearance of your products is what makes them attractive to customers. Therefore, proper packaging for your product has a direct impact on your business. Apart from the visual perception, it’s critical the perishable food you’re shipping comes fresh and unspoiled. Make sure all the food packaging is properly sealed, boxed, covered, or stacked to minimize damage while in transit.

Book cold capacity

Because of the tight capacity of the refrigerated trucks market, it is important to book cold containers in advance. Shipping food products is challenging since your goods have to be delivered in excellent condition. Maintaining an attractive appearance and condition is only possible with proper temperature control and good service. When looking for a carrier, make sure the company is compliant with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The next years will be especially complicated to compete for cold shipping options in terms of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Cold chain shipping strategy

The cold chain shipping strategy is a necessity for transportation of the food items. Adopting the cold chain scheme includes working with reefer shipping services who offer modern transport means with built-in temperature regulation systems. These systems can maintain the required temperature and humidity for a long time, even during international shipping.

If you don’t have an opportunity to book refrigerated trucks, you may consider using different types of coolers such as frozen gel packs or dry ice packs. However, it is worth remembering that shipping with dry ice can only be a suitable choice for short-distance shipments.

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