The Food Manufacturer's Guide to Shelf Life Testing
The Food Manufacturer’s Guide to Shelf Life Testing
Shelf life testing. This seemingly daunting phrase is a must-know for all food manufacturers who plan to bring a new product to market. But what is shelf life testing exactly? And how do you know if your food product is a contender? Read on food manufacturer, read on.
Shelf life is a fancy term that describes the length of time a product is at peak quality before it begins to deteriorate due to microbial growth that kicks off the beginnings of the expiration of your food product. Basically, the shelf life of a food product is how long it can be on the grocery store shelf before it starts going bad.
Determining a product’s shelf life is important for the food manufacturer for reasons of inventory, distribution, and of most importantly: food safety. Having a shelf life study conducted will help you understand the life span of your product and even determine the proper storage temperatures and packaging materials that will extend the amount of time it can remain on the shelf before product quality begins to deteriorate. This is one of the main steps to ultimately determine if your product is ready for the food industry.
How is Shelf Life Testing Done?
Shelf life testing takes place at a food lab where your product is observed for microbial growth and chemical changes as it ages. A sensory evaluation is also conducted to give feedback on changes in sight, smell, taste etc. as the product changes and signs of spoilage begin.
There are 4 primary components to this testing: ingredient content, packaging, processing and shelf storage. This data will help determine how to properly label your product for use-by, sell-by and/or expiration dates which are required by the FDA.
Where Can I Get My Food Product Tested?
As a food manufacturer, it is of the utmost importance to test your product for freshness and quality so check off every box of the criteria required for distribution, food safety and quality. Food testing services can be conducted at a food lab that can inform you about the amount of product required to conduct all components of food testing for maximum results to produce the most accurate data.
Understanding your product’s shelf life is an important component to your overall success as a food manufacturer and will help you determine your readiness for the food industry.
LabelCalc is an intelligent cloud-based software created for the food manufacturer for off of their nutrition analysis and labeling needs. Contact us today to find out about how to get your product shelf-life tested for proper labeling.