There is no one-size-fits-all solution for shipping food items and perishable products. However, there are a few general steps that apply to all shipments:
- Print label
- Drop off
Timing is crucial to consider as well for fresh product shipping, because you will need to ship your product with UPS Next Day Air to ensure that your products arrive in good condition. When you are using express shipping, you will only be able to ship Monday - Thursday. Shipping outside of Monday - Thursday will result in spoilage due to transit delays.
- We require vendors to ship Monday – Thursday. Do not ship perishable items on days that will require transit on a weekend or over a holiday period as the package will simply sit in a warehouse effectively spoiling the product.
Packing Your Products
In addition to listing your products ahead of time, you will also want to make sure that you have the proper packing materials ready for your fresh products, so that when you receive an order and pick your fresh produce, you are ready to ship as soon as possible.
Having a sense of the packing materials you will use is also important in helping you set the shipping rates for your products when listing them.
We have found a few helpful resources to guide you in shipping perishable goods. Check out the following to get started:
- TasteProfit’s A Small Business Guide to Shipping Perishable Food: this is the most comprehensive guide we have found, and walks you through various options for temperature control, packaging, setting your shipping rates, and more.
- ShippingSchool’s How to Ship Fresh Produce: a good primer on packaging, temperature control, preventing spoilage, and online software options
- Bonus: check out seller Fresh From the Farm’s shipping test for an overview of the packing and shipping process for fresh mushrooms
Shipping Frozen Products
The following is an example of the packaging necessary to ship frozen products long distances. As you can see, the package needs to have an insulated lid, lining and liner in order to hold the temperature as cold as possible during transit.
In addition to the insulated components, ice packs are required.
Label Your Package
Once you have prepared and packaged your fresh mushrooms (or other perishable goods) for shipping, you will need to print your shipping label. If you are using Live Rates through Foraged, you will receive a label automatically with your order. Otherwise, you will need to set up a shipment through USPS, UPS, FedEx, or any other shipping carrier you are using to deliver your order.
Lastly, once you have dropped off your package at the required location for shipping, you will need to update your customer with the tracking information for your shipment. If you are using the Foraged Live Rates system, this should be updated automatically through your account. Otherwise, you can add the tracking number to the order in your account and an update will be sent to the customer’s email.
Note: It is always a good idea to save the tracking information for all of the shipments you make, regardless of which carrier/method you are using. In case there are any issues with the shipment, you will want to have the tracking information readily available so you, your customer, and the shipping carrier can check on it.