How to ship food with FedEx safely

A guide to shipping food so it stays fresh.
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Last update:

June 22, 2023
During holidays, it is common and rather popular to chip foods all over the country. There are many possibilities with FedEx but there are just a few things you need to know regarding this process. Today, we will discuss all of them and give you important insights regarding this matter. 

The first thing to keep in mind is that yes, you can ship food and frozen food with FedEx but you will need to prepare the package before doing that. There are 4 main things to keep in mind. They are:

  1. Packaging
  2. Insulation
  3. Refrigerant
  4. Shipping option

You can get valuable information from an expert known as Phillip Ashley Rix who owns Phillip Ashley Chocolates. In addition, he is also the finalist in the FedEx Small Business Grant. Below, you will see explanations for all 4 points we have listed above.

  1. Packaging

The first and the main thing to consider is the box or packaging. Phillip uses corrugated card boxes that have 1-inch thickness of the walls. He also uses pressure sensitive tape on all sides and all the flaps. This combination offers the best results and can protect the foods even chocolate cake inside at all times. 

  1. Insulation

According to Phillip, the best insulations to use are rigid polyurethane, expanded polystyrene, or even radiant barrier films. The latter has the best results and has been used by all kinds of experts for a long period of time. 

  1. Refrigerant

Refrigerants must be used. There are 2 main options. The first one is gel packs. They can be ideal to maintain a temperature between 32 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry ice is more preferable for frozen foods and ice cream. Keep in mind that dry ice cannot be touched with bare hands and it must not come in contact with the food inside a packaging. While gel packs can keep the cold temperature for a longer period of time, dry ice can keep the extreme low temperature for a shorter period of time. 

  1. Shipping option

The best shipping option FedEx has to offer in this case scenario is FedEx Priority Overnight. This is ideal if you are shipping small amounts of food in the United States. If you are shipping large amounts and many packages, the preferable service is FedEx First Overnight. 

Don’t forget that you should stay in contact with your clients and help them get the parcel as quickly as possible, without any issues or complications. Regular and frequent contact is of the essence. In addition, you can use customized delivery options when applicable.

In general, the most common services for this type of shipment are:

  • FedEx Priority Overnight
  • FedEx Standard or First Overnight
  • FedEx 1Day Freight

Keep in mind that FedEx doesn’t recommend FedEx Express Saver and FedEx 2Day. You should prepare the parcel to withstand at least 12 hours more than the delivery time frame is.

To make things even easier, you can use ShipSaving. This is an online platform designed for businesses that need to manage labels, get better shipping deals, and even manage warehouses. These are just a few of many features Ship Saving has and it is a platform used by millions. 

Keeping products refrigerated while in transit

As some of you may know already when shipping refrigerated foods you need to pay close attention to certain specifics. For instance, FedEx recommends using Dry Ice and gel packs compared to wet ice. Always pre-cool the container before packing the foods. When ready, use the steps for gel coolant below to pack the foods perfectly.

  1. Use the corrugated box as the exterior container
  2. Use insulated container placed inside the box
  3. Use 2 mil plastic liners all around the product
  4. Use coolant all around the product as well, even on the top
  5. Place insulated container lid at the top

Some additional steps we must include here is that coolant must be at the top of the insulated container. It must be at the top as well, just under the lid. When closing the bag, twist it first and then fold over. Use a rubber band to wrap it around the plastic bag and keep it in place. 

In case you are using an expanded polystyrene foam cooler, you may need to use absorbent pads placed at the bottom and the top. This is the only difference compared to when using an insulated container. 

There is a second option here. You can use dry ice. It is simple for some users and it is more appealing. Keep in mind, as we have mentioned earlier, dry ice can keep foods extremely cold for a shorter period of time than gel coolant. This also means that dry ice is ideal for foods that must stay frozen. If you use it, follow these steps.

  1. Use an outer corrugated box with the dry ice label
  2. Place the insulated container in the box
  3. Use plastic liner with a thickness of 2 mm
  4. Place dry ice blocks inside the container (do not touch these with bare hands)
  5. Place a product
  6. Add additional dry ice blocks at the top (2 are sufficient)
  7. Place the container lid

Once again, if you are using an expanded polystyrene foam cooler you will have to add absorbent pads to the package. They go beneath and above the dry ice blocks. You can place them at the bottom only. 

When shipping seafood with dry ice, you need to add additional ice in 2 mm plastic bags that go around the seafood. Also, add an absorbent pad at the bottom of the expanded polystyrene foam cooler just to make sure water doesn’t get out. 

Shipping food that must not freeze

This is a completely different purpose of shipment but can be completed in a similar or better same identical way. The only difference is the fact you need to use warm coolant around the product itself. Then place it in a container and the outer corrugated box. There is no need to use plastic wrap or absorbent pads. 

The final word

Shipping food with FedEx is extremely easy. All you need to know is how to pack the food properly, which refrigerant to use and which shipping service to choose. All of those answers are mentioned and explained in the content above. Make sure to memorize them so you can get a better idea about this process in general.

Written on:

May 21, 2021
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