Unlike non-perishable goods, frozen food items are highly sensitive to changes in external conditions. These conditions primarily include temperature, humidity, airflow, and pressure. Frozen food falls into the perishable goods category, and such products must be kept under strictly set conditions so that their quality, state, shelf life, and texture are maintained during shipping and transit.
This is a huge challenge for someone in the food business. Frozen food items cannot withstand heat exposure or moisture buildup due to fluctuating temperatures. These problems can cause quality deterioration, mold or bacterial growth, and degradation of shelf life. Trust us; you don’t want such products delivered to your valued customers. This will not only cost sales and revenue loss but will also negatively affect your company’s reputation.
Fresh deliveries mean happy, satisfied customers who will become regulars and leave amazing reviews as well! Especially if your business is still in its growing stages and you want to gain a loyal clientele that regularly buys from you, you need to make your customers happy by delivering them fresh products!
In this blog post, we are going to tell you how to choose the right carrier for shipping your frozen food items! There are a lot of different options available out there, and we will tell you how to select the best one to ensure secure shipping for your frozen goods! So read till the end!
Same Major Issues Faced During Frozen Food Shipping
As discussed earlier, frozen food is highly temperature-sensitive and requires storage at specifically set conditions to maintain its quality, shelf life, and state. These conditions can be affected due to changing circumstances during shipping and transit. Before we discuss the ideal carrier or container for shipping frozen food, it is important that you understand the various issues your cargo will face during shipping.
Here are some common problems faced during frozen food shipping. These problems must be taken into account while selecting a shipping carrier.
Fluctuation in External Conditions
One of the primary issues faced during frozen food shipping is fluctuation in external conditions. Your cargo will pass through different regions during transit, and these regions will have different environmental conditions. Changes in external conditions such as humidity, temperature, and weather, if not countered, can cause deterioration of the product’s quality and texture.
While selecting a carrier for your frozen food items, you must consider whether or not it can protect your products against changing external conditions throughout shipping.
Moisture buildup due to changing temperatures and humidity is extremely common during shipping. When your container moves from one area to another, the rapidly changing conditions can cause moisture to build up at different spots inside the container. If it reaches the food items, this moisture can completely destroy their texture, quality, and state.
In addition to that, moisture buildup can cause major hygiene issues. It can promote mold or bacterial growth, which can quickly turn your food products into health hazards, something you definitely don’t want. While choosing a shipping carrier for frozen food, it is important to consider if it can control humidity and prevent moisture buildup during transit or not.
Exposure to Heat
Exposure to heat is extremely common during shipping and transit, especially during the loading and offloading process. Where it may not affect non-perishable cargo, heat exposure can seriously and deeply impact perishable goods, especially frozen food. Even minute exposure to heat can cause physical and chemical changes in the food products, causing them to go bad.
This is why, while choosing one, it is important to consider whether or not the shipping carrier can provide protection to your frozen food against heat exposure.
Characteristics of an Ideal Carrier For Shipping Frozen Food
Now that you have an idea of the most common issues faced during frozen food shipping let’s have a look at the characteristics of the perfect frozen food carrier. These features or properties must be present in a container to make it fit for shipping frozen food products.
Before anything, the carrier must be able to consistently control the temperature of its cargo at a set low range. It must be equipped with a reliable air conditioning system to ensure that the temperature inside the carrier is maintained at the right temperature.
The ideal temperature range for most frozen food products is usually 0 to 10 degrees Celsius. The shipping container should be able to maintain the internal temperature at this range. This will make sure that the cargo is protected against external temperature changes and heat exposure, and as a result, your valued customers will receive fresh deliveries!
Controlling Humidity and Moisture Buildup
A frozen food shipping carrier must also be able to control humidity and prevent moisture buildup. Moisture usually builds up due to changing external temperatures or when there is still air. This can cause a lot of issues. For example, humidity can cause changes in the frozen food’s texture and state. In addition to that, moisture can promote fungal and bacterial growth, which can quickly spread and cause mass spoilage.
The container must have a proper air-conditioning system to control humidity at a suitable range. Whereas to prevent moisture buildup, the carrier must be equipped with large industrial fans to maintain a consistent airflow inside the container.
Hygiene maintenance should be your number one concern when selecting a carrier for your frozen food items. The carrier must be able to protect your cargo from external contaminants throughout shipping and transit. It must be well-sealed and hard-walled to prevent contaminants from entering the container. Moreover, it must also be able to prevent insects, as well as water, from getting inside.
Proper Drainage System
The ideal shipping carrier for frozen food must have a proper drainage system. A proper system that collects accumulated water and drains it is important for maintaining hygiene and preventing food spoilage.
Reefers – Ideal Carrier For Shipping Frozen Food
In cold chain or frozen shipping, a special kind of refrigerated container is used; this unique container is called a Reefer. Reefers are actually air-conditioned vessels with a temperature-controlled interior. Reefers are frequently used in cold chain shipping since they are ideal for it.
A Reefer is fixed at a particular set temperature range based on its cargo, and it maintains that temperature throughout the shipping procedure. In addition to temperature, a Reefer regulates humidity, atmosphere, and ventilation. All of these settings are precisely set to ensure that the items remain in good condition during the shipping process.
You’ll be amazed to know that Reefer containers are available in various types, as well as varying sizes and dimensions. You can select any type, size, and shape based on the requirements of your cargo.
What Is a Reefer Used For?
A Reefer is primarily used for shipping perishable goods. These containers are essential for the food industries, floral, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Reefers are used to ship a wide range of products, including frozen food items, meat, dairy products, agricultural produce, prepared food products, fruits, vegetables, artworks, baked items, chemicals, and medicines.
What Does a Reefer or Refrigerated Container Do?
A Reefer (refrigerated container) controls its internal conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and airflow. A reefer container is well equipped with such equipment that helps maintain these conditions. By keeping the internal conditions consistent, a Reefer ensures that the quality, condition, shelf life, and texture of your cargo are maintained throughout shipping and transit.
Moreover, a Reefer is heavily insulated and well-sealed to keep heat and contaminants outside and the cold inside.
How Does a Reefer Work?
A Reefer is equipped with an air-conditioning system that expels hot air outside and distributes chilled air throughout the container to maintain the internal temperature. In addition to that, this air-conditioning system also maintains humidity at a suitable level. Most Reefers can set their internal temperature anywhere from minus 20 to plus 20 degrees Celsius. Reefers that can maintain lower temperatures are available as well.
A Reefer is usually connected to a power source supplied by the transport vehicle (usually a ship or a truck). However, there are Reefers available that also have a backup electricity generator attached to them. We recommend using these options so that even if the transport vehicle breaks down during transit, your cargo won’t be at risk of spoilage.
In addition to that, a Reefer is equipped with large industrial fans to maintain a steady airflow inside the container. This airflow prevents moisture buildup, which helps maintain hygiene. Moreover, a Reefer has an apt drainage system to drain any water that may accumulate anywhere inside the container. All these features make a Reefer the ideal carrier for shipping frozen food.
How to Properly Arrange Items In a Reefer?
It is important that you know how to arrange your goods in a Reefer container. Different regions of a Reefer can have different temperature ranges, and it is vital that you arrange your cargo in these sections according to their temperature requirements.
Different assortment styles are suitable for different types of products. Primarily, make sure that you arrange your goods in such a way that air flows through them. This will ensure that all items in the container are evenly cooled.
Where Does a Logistics Company Come In?
A logistics company such as Cold Chain 3PL can effectively and efficiently handle all your frozen shipping for you. Cold Chain 3PL can help you choose the right Reefer containers for your frozen food. The company is a well-reputed name in the shipping business, and its professional, highly-trained employees will make sure that your customers receive their deliveries in their original state!
As it is highly sensitive, frozen food must be shipped under specific conditions so that its quality, shelf life, and integrity are maintained throughout the transit and shipping process. This is why special carriers called Reefers are used for shipping frozen food items. These containers are equipped with air-conditioning and industrial fans and have a proper drainage system to ensure temperature and humidity control as well as hygiene.