The Do’s and Don’ts of Sending Food Parcels Abroad

Thinking of sending some edible treats to a relative or loved one abroad? At ParcelHero we understand that nothing reminds us of home more than the foods we love, so we have put together list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ to help you prepare the perfect food parcel.

Use ParcelHero when sending food abroad to get:

  • Savings of up 60% over the Post Office
  • Free £50 enhanced cover on every order
  • Free door-to-door tracking from the moment you order

When it comes to sending food items abroad via courier, the rules are relatively simple: You cannot send any food items that are classed as perishables (things that can go off or that can spoil during transit). This is the most important rule of all, and as long as you stick to this rule, you will be just fine.

What Food Can and Can’t You Ship Abroad?

  • Store Bought Food Items
  • Christmas Hampers
  • Home-Made Food
  • Customs

Store Bought Food Items

What Store Bought Food Can be Shipped?

  • Foods must be in the original manufacturers packaging.
  • Food packaging must be sealed and not tampered with in any way.
  • Food label must list all ingredients.
  • Foods must have a shelf life of longer than 6 months from the date of shipping.

All foods that have a shelf life of less than 6 months will be classed as perishables, and cannot be sent via courier, even if store bought.

How to Ship Food Items

  • Don’t send food items that must be kept in a temperature controlled environment in transit (refrigerated, frozen or chilled) as they will spoil by the time they reach their destination.
  • Don’t expect your food parcel to be kept ‘this way up’ during transit.
  • Don’t send foods that are restricted for import into the destination country.
  • Always ensure your food items have a label clearly displaying all the ingredients and the ‘use by date’ because customs authorities may check these upon import.
  • Always package your food items so that they can withstand the parcel being placed upside down during transit, and always wrap individual items separately inside your parcel for optimum protection.
  • Always check the import restrictions in the country you are shipping to, to avoid sending foods that are prohibited at the destination. If you are unsure of how to check this information, then contact ParcelHero for expert advice.

Sending Christmas Hampers

Every year, more and more people chose to cheer up their loved ones with a Christmas hamper filled with delicious yuletide treats. And why not? Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a mouth-watering selection of their favourite Christmas foods?

Fortunately, sending Christmas hampers is usually quite straightforward as long as you stick to the rules.Don’t send hampers that include alcohol or drinks of any kind. Alcohol and flammable liquids are prohibited items and cannot be sent via courier.

How to Ship Christmas Hampers

  • Don’t forget that chocolates can be affected by the heat if you are sending your hamper to a tropical or hot country. Chocolate has a tendency to turn white if exposed to heat, so make sure you opt for white chocolate if this is a concern.
  • Don’t place the hamper inside a box without any internal cushioning and hope this will be enough to keep it protected in transit.
  • Don’t just declare your goods as ‘Christmas Hamper’ on the customs invoice. If you do, then it’s very likely that customs officials at the other end will have to open the hamper to find out exactly what’s inside.
  • Don’t gift wrap the hamper as customs officials may have to open it in order to inspect the contents, and we can’t guarantee they will preserve the wrapping paper.
  • Make sure all items inside the hamper are cushioned and fit snugly inside to avoid any unwanted movement during transit.
  • Always ensure you wrap your entire hamper in several layers of suitable cushioning materials such as bubble wrap before placing it inside the box if you want the hamper to arrive without any minor dents or bruises.
  • Do check that all the items in your hamper are allowed for import into the country you are shipping to. Some countries can be very strict with their import regulations so it’s essential you check this in advance. Contact ParcelHero’s friendly customer service team if you have any doubt about sending your Christmas hamper.
  • Ensure you list all the items you are sending on the customs invoice.

Home-made Foods

Unfortunately, home-made foods and baked goods usually fall into the category of perishable foods as they do not contain preservatives and will therefore go off or spoil during transit.

All food items classed as perishables are not permitted for transport via courier, but here are some useful tips for how you can still get your loved one’s favourite home-made foods to them and spread a bit of joy;

How to Ship Homemade Food:

  • Don’t try and cheat the system by passing off your home-made foods as store bought items as there are penalties in place if you do.
  • Don’t forget that some countries may not allowed certain foods to be imported into their country, so always check in advance that the items you are sending are not classed as prohibited or restricted for import to avoid delays with your delivery.
  • Do send your recipes for your home cooked foods so your loved one can re-create their favourite treats in their own kitchen.
  • Do include store bought ‘baking kits’ and utensils that may come in handy when cooking your recipe.
  • Do include packets of store bought ‘cake mix’ so all your loved one has to do is add water to enjoy a delicious spotted dick pudding that reminds them of home.
  • Do include store bought treats such as their favourite chocolates, crisps and sweets that your loved one cannot buy in the destination country.

Customs Clearance for your Food Parcel

If you are shipping within the EU borders, then you will be pleased to hear that you parcel will not need to pass through customs clearance before it can be delivered.

However, if you are sending to or from a non EU country your food parcel will have to go through customs clearance and must therefore need to be accompanied by a customs invoice. ParcelHero will help you create this invoice when you book your parcel online, but here’s a few useful tips to help you declare your goods properly to avoid prolonged delays with clearance at the other end;

How to Clear Customs:

  • Don’t assume that customs officials in the country you are shipping to will know what you mean by ‘spotted dick’, so steer away from using local language when preparing your customs invoice.
  • Don’t forget to provide the value of each food item on the customs invoice.
  • Do list all the food items on your customs invoice and include the brand name, so it’s clear to customs officials exactly what’s inside your parcel.
  • Do provide a detailed description of your foods; Instead of writing ‘Spotted Dick’ you should write ‘Spotted Dick Cake Dessert’, for example.
  • Do place an extra copy of the customs invoice inside your parcel to speed up customs clearance in the event that the original invoice is separated from your parcel during transit.
  • Do expect customs official in the destination country to contact your receiver for more information about the parcel; in some cases your receiver may have to obtain an import licence or pay local import duty and tax before the parcel can clear customs and proceed for delivery.