Summer’s one of the best times of the year. All that warmth and greenery means endless outdoorsy fun—and endless excuses for barbecues, ice cream and super cold drinks. But that same warmth can take a toll on your products during delivery. If your business sells temperature-sensitive items like chocolate, desserts, meats or other perishable goods, you’ve got to ensure they can survive the shipping process. We’ve gathered up 6 cool tips for when you get down to shipping food in the summer heat.

Ship it early

Shipping food late in the week (Thursday or Friday) runs the risk of it sitting in a warehouse for the weekend. That can spell the end for your perishable goods, and upset customers waiting for your delicious creations. Don’t let that happen.

Plan it right

So, what are you sending? When it comes to shipping food, some items need special considerations.

Cakes and other pastries tend to ship best when frozen. This keeps elements like frosting or toppings from collapsing or being damaged.

Cheese can be shipped as it is. But, as many people expect cheese to be kept cold, insulating it can keep customers happy. Otherwise, some have been known to refuse shipments.

Chocolate has a low melting point, so it must be kept cold. Humidity can also cause it to bloom, ruining its looks and turning off customers. Using cold packs are a must.

Dairy needs to be kept cool, of course. Dry ice is recommended over cold packs. Make sure you handle it properly and declare your usage of dry ice on your shipping labels.

Seafood requires cold packs. And due to its surprising fragility, larger pieces of seafood (such as entire fish, crabs or lobsters) must be individually protected. Shells crack easily in transport.

Meat can be shipped frozen, while more expensive cuts are best shipped chilled to maintain their texture, flavour and quality.

Unpasteurized/Organic items like juices, vegetables and fruits must be kept cold and properly cushioned during shipping to avoid bruising.

Note: Dry ice eventually turns to carbon dioxide gas through a process called sublimation. Ensure you never use it in an airtight container, or pressure will build as it displaces the oxygen. And you know what’s likely to happen as pressure builds up.

Insulate it correctly

Using insulated shipping kits are a great place to start. They have the basics your products will need—a quality corrugated box with pre-printed warnings on it, and a foam container with a lid for the inside. If you need to create your own insulated shipment, start with a brand new corrugated box. Make sure it’s brand new, as used boxes can have dents or other compromising damage.

Insulated bubble box liners are just as they sound, combining insulating and cushioning properties in one packaging supply. Leak-resistant and approved for incidental contact with food, they’re a fine alternative to a foam container. You can add cold packs to help maintain temperature, and use bubble cushion for extra padding and protection.

If you’re shipping food or other perishable products that are a little less delicate, you can consider using insulated mailer envelopes. Insulated bubble-based mailers are great for smaller items like frozen dough or cold cheese, and have all the features you’d expect from a mailer—including being puncture and moisture resistant. Don’t forget that you can also add cold packs inside them.

Seal it well

Now that your products are chilled and comfy, it’s time to ensure your shipment stays as dry as possible. You’ve likely already used these items to protect your shipment, but they bear pointing out again. Using a foam container inside a corrugated box will help keep things dry. Be sure to use a new box, or at least one specifically meant for shipping food. Bubble cushion inside the foam container can help act as an extra moisture barrier, in addition to cushioning the product. Don’t forget to finish off the shipment by sealing it with some quality packing tape.

Label it properly

Write words like “PERISHABLE” and “TIME-SENSITIVE” on your shipments in big letters. If you’ve got pre-printed warning labels, use those as they’re likely colourful and will have a better chance of catching a deliveryman’s eyes. When you’re prepping the shipment for delivery, make sure the postal service knows it needs to remain temperature controlled. Don’t forget to remind your customers that upon delivery, they must take steps to unpack and protect their purchase.

Deliver it quickly

Use expedited or rush delivery services. It’ll ensure a quick travel time, minimizing the risk of spoilage. And ensure your customers have to sign for the shipment—that way, you’ll have proof of when it actually arrives.

Like all things, a little bit of effort can go a long way. Ensuring you’re shipping food as safely and efficiently as possible will keep your business successful, your customers happy, and put your mind at ease. When you’re ready to prep your shipments for the summer heat, be sure to visit our insulated category.