Guide to shipping mooncakes worldwide

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Mooncakes have a 3,000 year old history in Chinese culture, with various myths and legends sharing about their origin. For generations, eating mooncakes during the Mid Autumn Festival has been a tradition among the Chinese. Today, the pastry has evolved from being an annual family treat to one that is considered an exotic gift from Asia. Being a seasonal food item that is only available during the mooncake festival, this is a pastry that is priced at a premium. However, what makes this pastry so unique is the fact that there are many different types of mooncakes and with more and more pastry chefs coming up with special fillings and flavours to attract the younger generations and overseas consumers, the mooncake is seeing a rise in popularity. 

As more people become familiar with mooncakes, shipping this food item has become a lucrative business for small businesses and entrepreneurs as companies have begun to export them internationally to overseas customers.

Whether you are making mooncake deliveries regionally to Singapore or internationally to various countries overseas, it is important to understand the various countries’ regulations to avoid any mistakes. Read on to learn more about the different types of mooncakes and find out how you can start an online mooncake delivery business. 

Mooncake businesses continue to appeal to overseas consumers

Despite strict regulations being imposed on mooncakes, exports continued to increase significantly. According to data from iiMedia Research, sales of mooncakes in China have grown from RMB13.18 billion in 2015 to RMB$20.52 billion in 2020. This is due to rising demand from overseas consumers. Customers from countries such as the US, Europe, and Australia would place their orders two months prior, so that their mooncakes would arrive in time for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Many bakeries and restaurants are also taking this opportunity to create more mooncake varieties to attract their international audience. 

What are the different types of mooncakes?

So what is a mooncake and what makes it unique? Mooncakes are traditional baked pastries with either sweet or savoury fillings. And with the need to attract the younger generation and overseas consumers, the types of mooncake fillings have increased over the years, with many bakeries and chefs concocting exciting new flavours that combine the best in ingredients from the East and West. In fact, there are many different types of mooncakes in the market these days and consumers are spoilt for choice.

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Here are some of the best in mooncake flavours:

  • Wuren: a traditional mooncake that is especially popular among senior citizens. It consists of almonds, walnut kernels, hawthorn, sesame seeds, melon seeds, red beans and other nuts.

  • Red bean: a classic and popular mooncake variant with sweet bean paste as its filling.

  • White lotus: a Cantonese-style mooncake with a filling of white lotus paste made from fresh lotus seeds.

  • Salted egg yolk: this type of mooncake has a firm salted egg yolk in the middle as filling with a combination of fresh lotus seeds or red bean paste.

  • Snow skin: a very popular mooncake type that has a pastry skin made from glutinous rice flour.

How to deliver mooncakes from Malaysia?

To ship mooncakes overseas, you must comply with the destination country’s food import regulations. Apart from that, businesses will have to follow the various food control standards imposed by countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Other countries such as South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines have banned mail delivery of mooncakes. In this regard, you will need to be aware of your products’ ingredients and packaging contents, as well as the import regulations of your destination country.

Exporters must register with the Companies Commission of Malaysia and obtain a licence from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). In addition, standard documents such as export customs declaration, commercial invoice, bill of lading, packing list, and certificate of origin are required. 

Another important thing to note when shipping mooncakes is the expiry date. Your mooncakes must be able to last for at least a month as it can take weeks for them to get cleared by customs. Some shipping companies are able to provide next day express deliveries so your items remain fresh when it arrives at its destination. 

Although it is illegal to send mooncakes by post to countries such as the US, Australia, and Canada, it is allowed if the mooncakes are delivered to private addresses and labelled as gifts. Therefore, it is important to package them properly. As most mooncake boxes are for decorative purposes, they will not be able to hold the pastries in place. Be sure to wrap the boxes in bubble wrap and label them as fragile if you want your mooncakes to look presentable when they arrive at your recipient's door. Some logistics companies offer packing services, so you can save time when securing your packaging.

Shipping mooncakes from Malaysia

Shipping mooncakes to relatives and friends abroad can be difficult due to differing food import regulations in different countries. It is advisable to comply with import and export regulations to avoid logistic issues. If you are just starting an online mooncake delivery business, it is advisable to look for a reliable shipping company that offers timely delivery services to ensure that your mooncakes reach their destinations on time.