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 in 2021.
When is produce shipping season?
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 produce is transported only through refrigerated trucks, the temperature-controlled capacity begins to tighten, and freight rates increase sometimes as much as 30%.
Tips for shipping fresh produce: How to ship frozen food
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 strategy that will help you successfully ship 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 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. This year will be especially complicated to compete for cold capacity in light of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
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