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How to Keep Food Fresh for Delivery

OK, you have a top chef working in your kitchen, a unique menu and active social media profiles promoting your foodservice business. But, do you think all that is more important than the quality of your food upon delivery? Of course not - all that is irrelevant if your food arrives at its destination shaken or spoiled by the journey. So how can you avoid this scenario?

Segment Your Food Deliveries
Each and every food item requires a different approach to handling and storage for fresh delivery. That’s why you should segment your foods into separate types to ensure you guarantee freshness for each:

     Red Meat
     Fruits and Vegetables
     Prepared Food (Ready to Eat)
     Frozen Foods

Each of these requires a certain temperature range for storage. For example, frozen foods should be kept at anywhere between -24 and -18 degrees Celsius. Fresh goods, such as fruits and dairy products, should be kept between 4-8 degrees. Double check the items you intend to take into transit to ensure you have the facilities to keep the right temperature levels for your foods.

Watch Those High-Risk Foods
In addition to segmenting your food deliveries, you should also be particularly mindful of high-risk items. These include anything from raw meats and poultry to eggs and seafood. Bacteria that lead to food poisoning multiply and grow particularly quickly in these items, which means that any mistakes can be extremely costly. Remember that even food that comes in secure packaging that has a long sell-by date can become a ‘high risk’ item once opened.

Check Temperatures

When your food arrives at its destination, you may want to consider checking temperatures just to make sure the food is still fresh. This is particularly important if you’re trying new methods or if you’re just starting in the catering industry – perfecting your methodology early on will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Of course, this can be a little tricky, as some products will either be sealed for direct consumer sale or opening the packaging may tamper with the food’s shelf life.

There are two ways you can circumvent this issue:
     the first is by holding two identical items together and placing your thermometer’s tip right in between. The metal tip should be completely enveloped as otherwise you’ll get an air temperature reading.
     the second is our preferred method, due to its accuracy: using an infrared thermometer is quick and simple to use, allowing you to accurately gauge a product’s surface temperature without tampering with the packaging.

Should you not be directly responsible for the transit itself, you have a right (and obligation!) to verify that your supplier has kept the correct logs, adhered to government standards, and safeguarded the freshness of food during transit. Check the temperatures yourself upon delivery and refuse produce that isn’t in the right range.

Pack Foods Properly

When it comes to keeping food fresh for delivery, containers play a critical role. It’s important that food is packed tightly and that containers close securely. Ideally, look for containers that:

     have fasteners to ensure they don’t pop open during transit.
     are non-toxic
     easy to clean, ensuring contamination risk is kept to a minimum

Also, remember that some packaging isn’t suitable for freezing or high temperatures, so be watchful before making your purchase.

Foods that require to be kept within a certain temperature range should be placed within insulated bags or containers, or refrigerated units. For example, our insulated food delivery bag  has been specifically designed to keep food warm during transit. For quick food deliveries to local businesses, it can make quite the difference.

Finally, creating the ideal environment for food delivery is not enough - it needs to be consistent. Temperature levels should never drop or increase by large amounts, nor should the process chop and change too much from one day to the next. Your staff members should know their roles, the correct storage and temperature equipment used, and each type of food handled according to requirements – if you tick these three items off your list, you shouldn’t run into any problems! 

Find this interesting? Check out these other blogs:
How To Keep Buffet Food Fresh
2016 Restaurant Food Trends
What Equipment Do I Need To Open A Cafe?

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