Ship Food Cross-Country Successfully: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Successfully Ship Food Across the Country

Posted on:
Oct 07, 2021

Everything you need to know to ship food cross country

Shipping food and perishables across the country can be challenging.

Especially during the produce season, businesses and farms ship vegetables, fruits, oats, grains, meat, and other foods in high volume.

However, food shipments entail additional challenges concerning packaging and the delivery process itself. With that, shippers need to factor in weather conditions, food temperature requirements, and distance. These checks help ensure that goods arrive fresh and free from contamination, spoilage, and staleness.

To help you better ship food, we prepared a short yet comprehensive guide on how to ship food domestically.

Factors that affect food shipping quotes

Before we get into the details of how to ship food, let’s discuss the main factors carriers take into account when calculating food shipments.

Amount of goods

Freight carriers will consider how much space your food shipment is occupying in a trailer. Aside from volume, they will also take into account freight weight to get shipping rates.

Type of food

Shipping non-perishables (dry goods) is generally cheaper than shipping perishables and frozen goods. This is because of the added logistics and complications of transporting large volumes of food that can quickly become spoiled or contaminated.

Foods that need to be kept at specific temperatures are even more expensive to ship as they may require refrigerated trucks with reliable temperature-controlled capabilities.

Delivery window

Time-sensitive shipments, like produce and meat, have tight delivery windows that rely on the speed and stability of carriers to ensure that goods arrive on time without spoilage.


Shipping food cross country is more expensive than shipping locally because crossing state borders usually involves complicated logistics and multiple truck transitions.

What type of trailer is best for shipping food?

The best type of trailer to ship food will depend on the type of food you’re shipping: that is, either perishables or non-perishables.

Dry goods, canned products, and other non-perishables are shipped via dry van trailers. Dry vans are available as full truckload freight or LTL freight services, both affordable and secure ways to ship freight.

Refrigerated trucking is generally required for shipping perishable goods –– allowing carriers to control temperature and avoid spoilage.

What packaging is used for shipping food?

Packaging will again depend on the type of food you’re shipping.

You can safely ship food like dry goods in boxes or crates. But to ship food like perishables will require insulation and proper labeling to ensure they’re kept at the right temperature and humidity.

Non-Perishable Dried Foods

To ship non-perishable foods like canned products, nuts, hard candies, among others, don’t need insulation and coolants. However, it’s still best to keep dry goods from extreme temperatures, as this can still affect the integrity of the food.

It is best to ship non-perishable food in a cardboard box lined with packing peanuts or bubble wrap to ensure that products stay in place and don’t get dented or crumbled.

Perishable Fresh/Refrigerated Foods

Since fresh and refrigerated food deteriorates quickly in extreme temperatures, it must be kept at the right temperature using gel coolants, ice packs, and insulation.

Styrofoam boxes and sheets are versatile as these come in varying thicknesses, depending on your needs and budget.

Insulated liners are securely wrapped around perishables to protect them from damage and heat. Insulated pads or plastic (for liquids) can also be placed in the box to keep food fresh.

Afterward, the styrofoam box should be secured in a corrugated box filled with packing peanuts. Remember, when you ship perishable food, you need to seal with tape along all the seams and to label with the refrigeration requirements.

Perishable Frozen Foods

To ship frozen food requires dry ice to ensure freshness, but it should be handled with extra caution. Carriers will have guidelines in place for shipping with dry ice.

Place the frozen food inside a styrofoam box lined with plastic. Instead of using ice packs, place dry ice inside the box. Frozen food should be vacuum-sealed or sealed tightly in a plastic bag as it shouldn’t come in contact with dry ice.

Line another cardboard box with plastic and fill it with packing peanuts so the styrofoam box stays secure inside. Remember, when you ship frozen food, seal all the seams with shipping tape and clearly label that the package contains dry ice.

Ship Food with GoShip

Finding a reliable food shipping carrier that gives fair food freight quotes can be a struggle –– with an online freight marketplace like GoShip, you can get a freight quote from the top carriers in your area. has an instant LTL quote and FTL quote tool that will compare the rates of thousands of LTL carriers in your area. There’s no need to haggle with multiple carriers so that you get the best deal. All you have to do is enter the load type and pickup and delivery zip code.

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