How to Ship Food and Beverages with GoShip Shipping Quotes

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How to Ship Food 

Shipping food presents a unique set of challenges to businesses. With most freight, shippers must balance cost with pick-up and drop-off dates and carrier quality. But when shipping food, two other factors weigh heavily in their carrier decision: keeping the product safe for consumers through transit time and temperature control. 

Maintaining tight transit times helps prevent food spoilage. If shippers use an unreliable LTL carrier that suffers frequent delays or lost shipments, they run the risks of food expiry. Grocers and other food sellers won’t put bad product on shelves, and they won’t continue to work with businesses that can't keep shelves stocked. 

Temperature control is critical to most food shipments. While some products can withstand high fluctuations in temperature, there is a limit to what’s safe and legal. Shippers should ensure their carriers are fully compliant with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA)

Shippers asking themselves how to ship food need to select carriers who 

  1. Fall within budget 
  2. Can meet pick-up date 
  3. Can meet drop-off date 
  4. Are reputable and of the highest quality 
  5. Keep food safe through consistent, tight transit times 
  6. Ensure a temperature-controlled journey 
  7. Comply with the FDA FMSA 

Not a small ask, but necessary in order to protect their margins. To meet these needs, businesses often turn to online freight marketplaces like GoShip to find the right carrier. 

By leveraging a freight marketplace, food shippers get a clear read on the costs and transit times and can select the right fit for their freight. GoShip offers these quotes within seconds and free of cost, so shippers can stay on schedule without waiting or eating into their budgets. 

business owner packaging and weighing coffee before shipping

Food Shipping Services

When it comes to transporting food and beverages, merchants are confronted by many unique and difficult challenges such as strict delivery deadlines that preserve food quality and provide grocery stores with inventory long before its expiration date. Getting ahead and staying on top of planned shipping is crucial to strengthening your food supply chain operations because of these strict deadlines. 

Food and beverages that are perishable are operating on even stricter deadlines and cannot afford to withstand any disruptions in the supply chain. Perishable goods are also heavily dependent on the use of temperature-controlled transport, also known as refrigerated or reefer vans. GoShip can help implement consistent and dependable solutions for frozen foods, meats, dairy, baked goods, and other perishable foods at great rates! 

Shipping Frozen Food 

Shipping frozen foods can be a challenging task, but with the right carriers, the process can be simple and easy. There are three main things that you must take care of when shipping frozen foods, making sure you (1) plan ahead, (2) take care of the packaging, and (3) book the perfect carrier with the best cold capacity. 

Planning is critical when shipping frozen foods. Refrigerated trucks are in high demand, but with a proper shipping strategy in place, shipping frozen foods can be a smooth process. By planning your shipping accordingly, you can give yourself the proper amount of time to package your frozen foods, which is a major step in this process. 

Making sure your package of frozen foods is packaged correctly is important because if it isn't packaged properly, the food might not stay frozen and potentially spoil. Refrigerated trucks will keep the temperature and humidity within range, but the time before and after loading requires extra protection in case of outages at your facility or the shipment’s destination. You want to make sure the food you are shipping is fresh and unspoiled when it arrives at its destination, so packaging it properly is important. 

At GoShip, we can help you plan a fast and easy shipping process with one of our many reliable, pre-vetted carriers to help make sure your frozen foods arrive on time and in perfect condition. Visit our food and beverage page to learn more about how GoShip can help you safely ship your frozen foods, or fill out our Get a Quote form and see which providers best suit your shipping needs. 

woman reviewing packaging before shipping food

Shipping Perishables 

Shipping perishables, or foods prone to spoil or decay after a short length of time, comes down to planning. From the moment the item comes into existence, it has a limited amount of time before it becomes unsellable. Your job is to move it as quickly and safely as possible from your possession into a place where consumers can use it, usually a grocery store or big-box retailer. 

Break your perishable’s shipping journey into three parts: packaging, transit, and warehousing. 

When it comes to packaging, preparation goes a long way. Outside of the product packaging itself, you’ll often want to include some form of coolant such as dry ice. Around that, you’ll want an insulated container to maintain the temperature the coolant is generating. And around that, you’ll want an outer container that can weather the shipping process, such as a corrugated box. 

Transit will often occur on a refrigerated truck, also called reefer shipping. Refrigerated trucks have built-in climate control to maintain a constant temperature regardless of location. For example, if you’re moving chicken, you’ll want to keep the chicken at 40 degrees F or lower. While your packaging can help with that lift, a truck driving across Arizona in July will be hard-pressed to keep the temperatures low without climate control. 

Finally, proper warehousing is critical. Every stop for your perishable between pickup and delivery should be at a facility designed to keep perishables safe. 

By planning ahead—when packaging, when selecting a carrier, when warehousing—you can ship perishables quickly and safely, maximizing your time on the shelf and ability to get into consumers’ hands. 

small business owners packing and preparing to ship food and beverages at table

Shipping Meat 

Food quality and extreme delivery deadlines are just some of the many challenges food and beverage retailers are facing. Fast and planned shipping is what can help strengthen your entire business mechanism. Perishable products like meat require thorough supply chain planning that cannot survive any disruptions.

With logistics playing such a large role in transporting temperature-sensitive shipments, GoShip can provide you with consistent and workable solutions for shipping meat and other perishables. 

Refrigerated trucks have special protection from sun and rain apart from in-built refrigeration systems. Also, there is a strict compliance policy for reefer carriers, so it is a safe and reliable way to ship meat. GoShip offers free refrigerated shipping rates for your meat supply chain! 

Shipping Fruit & Shipping Vegetables 

Shipping fresh fruits and vegetables requires careful planning and near-perfect execution to have fresh produce arrive fresh and edible. Keeping the fresh produce at a safe temperature for the entirety of the journey is your major focus. While some fruits and vegetables may travel fine without a climate-controlled truck, you will often want to consider refrigerated trucks to move your freight. Not only are fruit and vegetables susceptible to temperature, but humidity as well, as condensation can build up on your fresh produce and cause premature aging.  

Packaging is also a huge factor in the safety of your fruits and vegetables. Your produce should be carefully packaged and padded to prevent damage. Leverage moisture-wicking bags to help keep your produce dry. You should plan for your perishable goods to be able to survive 24-36 hours and stay under 40 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the trip. 

GoShip can bridge you to the right shipper that provides safe and quick end-to-end temperature control for shipping your produce at a great price! 

Shipping Dairy Products 

Over the past year, grocery e-commerce has become the most popular means of food shopping, prompting dairy shippers to strengthen their supply chains. Unfortunately, shipping dairy products is one of the more challenging aspects of transportation. 

When shipping dairy products, you want to select a reliable carrier because dairy is so tricky, with a proclivity to spoil and delicate packaging. Dairy shippers must prioritize finding the right carrier with a strong reliability record. That is why leveraging a freight marketplace like GoShip is the best option because you are allowed to select a carrier that fits your needs and sets your customers and products as their top priority. 

Shipping Liquids 

Shipping liquids is just like shipping solids, just harder. As with any shipment, you’ll want to identify the base needs of the shipment: cost, pick-up, and drop-off dates, temperature requirements, and so on. 

The key difference comes down to adhering to best practices for packaging and carrier selection. 

Liquids should always be packaged in waterproof containers to avoid spillage. For products that can be moved in a wide range of temperatures, sealed containers help prevent spoilage through fluctuations in humidity that naturally occur during transit. Shippers often include a waterproof liner within their shipping container to err on the side of caution. 

Your shipping container should be clearly labeled that it carries liquids, with a notice on all sides and clear indicators of which side should face up. While you likely trust your packaging manufacturer, there is no need to take on additional risks. 

Because shipping liquids carries additional risk, you should select a carrier with a strong safety record and who is prepared to move your liquids. If you are finding for a new carrier, you should use an online freight marketplace like GoShip, which has pre-vetted carriers for safety and quality. 

Finally, you should make sure that you are falling on the right side of any carrier agreement and local laws. Many carriers will have specific requirements depending on the contents of your liquid shipment, and most governments have laws on how certain liquids, like alcohol, are shipped. 

business owner reviewing manufacturing line before shipping liquids in bottles

Safest Way to Ship Liquids 

Shipping liquids require enhanced safety and planning because many liquids are potentially inflammable. Before shipping liquids, make sure the carrier accepts liquids in the first place, and then provide proper packaging. It’s most safe when a product is double sealed, put in waterproof packaging, and only after that is placed in the box, crate, or other storage. 

When looking for a carrier, make sure the company is compliant with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Let GoShip help deliver liquids and beverages straight to your customer's table with our advanced transportation solutions, carrier network, tracking capabilities, and decades of experience in shipping food and beverage products. 

Can you ship liquids to Canada? 

Shipping liquids across the northern border to Canada is somewhat of a gray area. The short answer is yes, you can ship liquids to Canada, although there are a number of prohibited liquids that you are unable to ship, including (but not limited to) gasoline, nail polish, and remover, perfumes that contain alcohol, alcoholic beverages, poisons, and flammable or explosive liquids. 

Depending on what you are shipping, even if it's not prohibited, you may need a permit to ship it north of the border. 

To see if the item you wish to ship is prohibited or requires a permit, check out Canada's shipping guidances

Shipping Alcohol 

Shipping a liquid like alcohol can be a simple and easy process if you know all the specific rules within each state about where you can and cannot ship alcohol. Alcohol is prohibited in a multitude of cities, towns, and even countries, so knowing where alcohol is legal is important.

Along with where alcohol is legal, making sure the alcohol is packed correctly is important. Since alcohol often comes in glass bottles, they are more delicate than plastic items, which means you must package your alcohol properly, so it does not get damaged throughout the shipment.  

Shipping alcohol directly to consumers likely has legal constraints. For example, it is illegal to ship alcohol directly to consumers in Texas, but Connecticut has some legal allowances. Before shipping alcohol directly to consumers, consult state and federal laws because there are likely some constraints to which you’ll need to adhere.  

Shipping alcohol tends to be more expensive than shipping most similarly sized items, so finding a reliable carrier that is affordable and trustworthy is a necessity. Using an online freight marketplace, like GoShip, allows you to run through a large list of pre-vetted carriers to find the right fit for your freight.  

Overall, shipping alcohol can be an easy process if you make sure you (1) package your alcohol correctly, (2) make sure you operate within legal means to ship alcohol to its destination, and (3) choose the right carrier to ship your alcohol.  

Shipping Beer 

While we’ve long since left the Prohibition era of smuggling into speakeasies and the Smokey and the Bandit days of bootlegging beer across state lines, shipping beer legally still isn’t exactly easy. 

While you should follow the best practices for packaging and carrier selection outlined elsewhere on this page, beer tends to have strict laws wrapped around how you can move it. 

Shipping beer in-state, or to and from locations within the same state, is the easiest scenario, as you only must worry about one state’s worth of legal constraints. For example, in Kentucky, you would need to know about the 11 completely dry counties and the other 56 with special circumstances. 

Once you expand to shipping beer across state lines, you must start worrying about both the origin state and the destination state. For example, you may be fine to ship from your business in Nevada directly to consumers in Nevada, but you cannot ship from your business in Nevada directly to consumers in Utah, where direct-to-consumer beer shipments are prohibited. 

In short, when shipping beer, follow the best practices for shipping liquid perishables, but work in close concert with your carrier and within the confines of both origin and destination laws. 

Man stocking shelves with recent wine shipment

Shipping Wine 

When it comes to shipping wine, you can experience an array of issues if unprepared. From complicated alcohol laws to heavy boxes filled with liquids, the logistics involved with shipping wine can be challenging. 

To legally ship wine anywhere in the country, you must be a licensed wine dealer. It is illegal for any unlicensed citizen to mail wine to another person. 

Additionally, shipping wine requires extreme care and protection to prevent the bottles from being damaged. Securely package the bottles so they reach the customer safely. 

Finally, shipping wine can be more expensive compared to other goods due to size, weight, required signatures, and the occasional surcharge for delivering directly to consumers instead of a traditional warehouse or facility. 

With GoShip, you can circumvent a number of these challenges. We’ll ship your wine to your customer safely and quickly through our network of over 50,000 pre-vetted carriers, and at wholesale prices, giving you the peace of mind in knowing you’ve gotten the best rates. 

Shipping Liquor 

Safety is a primary concern when shipping spirits, so make sure to properly organize your shipping process. Many carriers accept shipments that contain alcoholic beverages, but there are some additional steps to the process. 

Most carriers require labeling liquor shipments and providing proper packaging for the bottles, like double-sealing, waterproof packaging, and then boxing. We recommend you completely cover the shipment in something soft to reduce the risk of glass damage and to absorb any liquid if the bottle breaks. 

Additionally, some states require you to obtain a special license for shipping alcohol. Once you meet the necessary requirements, GoShip can help you find quotes from a wide variety of pre-vetted carriers. Final delivery requires an adult over 21 with proper identification to sign for the package, so you’ll want tight coordination between you, the recipient, and the carrier. 

Shipping Whiskey 

Whiskey has grown to become one of the most popular liquors in the United States over the past year, recently surpassing vodka. Shipping whiskey is similar to shipping wine or other liquors: you need to have a license that allows you to ship alcohol and you need to operate within federal laws and the laws of both the pickup and delivery states.  

When shipping whiskey, you must be cautious with the packaging. Glass bottles need to be packaged and handled delicately. At GoShip, we offer a variety of reliable carriers that are trained to handle delicate shipments like whiskey. As you book a load, you can note shipments that contain fragile materials so carriers know to handle them with care. 

Shippers often think that shipping whiskey can be expensive, but at GoShip, we help you get wholesale pricing that fits within your budget. You can review pricing through our Get a Quote feature, which presents options from local, regional, and national carriers ready to ship your whiskey.

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