How to Ship Perishable Items

If you’ve wanted to share your favorite food or dessert with a friend far away, you might have found yourself wondering if you could ship it to them. After all, people mail cars, animals, and packages every day, so why not food? The short answer is yes, you can ship perishable items, but it might end up being more costly than you anticipated. There are also certain steps you’ll need to take and assurances you’ll need to make to be sure the food arrives in quality condition.


You might think you need to know some advanced package concepts and materials to ship food items, but it’s actually fairly straightforward. First and foremost, anything perishable that you ship should be frozen. This helps to ensure the food won’t spoil or be contaminated during travel. It also opens up the door to sending tons of things cross-country because you can freeze almost any perishable food.

When packing up your items, you’ll want to package them in a container that will keep them cold. Some shipping companies offer cold bags or boxes for you to use, but styrofoam ice chests can work just as well if they turn out to be more cost effective. You’ll also need to have fully frozen ice or cold packs in your packaging to keep your food cool during transit. Most places recommend enough cold packs to keep food frozen for 24 hours.


Now that you have your items all packaged and cozy with their ice packs, it’s time to figure out how to actually ship them. Almost every shipper will require you to select overnight or priority shipping for perishable items to ensure they don’t spoil while in their care. They almost always come with a tracking number also so you can make sure the package is delivered and was received by the correct person.

The only problem with overnight shipping is that it can get costly, especially if your package is heavy. You have to remember that in addition to the weight of your items, the storage container and cold packs will also be figured into the cost. For example, 8 pounds of food in a styrofoam ice chest with a few cold packs could cost around $200 to ship overnight.

You can ship perishable items, but you need to have the package prepared properly and be aware of the costs you might incur. As long as everything is securely packed and frozen, you’re good to go!