Shelf life testing

We generate robust and reliable data to ensure you maintain product quality and consumer safety right to the end of the shelf-life declaration.

 

Accurately determining the shelf life of pre-packaged food is essential. It’s not only a regulatory requirement. Any deterioration in product quality or safety risks consumer complaints and product recalls. But shelf-life is affected by a multitude of factors. Knowing where to look and how to analyse product performance is key. We have the specialist knowledge and proven shelf-life testing capabilities to give you the answers you need.

Shelf life testing our end-to-end approach

 

We know that the type and quality of ingredients used in the formulation, the product pH, water activity, manufacturing process and packaging format all impact shelf-life. Our multidisciplinary team of experts have extensive expertise and experience in shelf life studies and stability testing across a wide range of product types. Explore our end-to-end approach below:

  • Invest RD 4936 HR

    Shelf life studies

    • Identify potential risks and mechanisms that could cause a product to fail during shelf life
    • Design bespoke shelf-life testing strategies according to the identified risks
    • Carry out accelerated and real time studies to evaluate product performance
    • Generate robust data to support your shelf-life declaration.
  • Pll Kitchen R2 5161 HR

    Product development & reformulation

    • Optimise formulation, ingredients, format and processing conditions to produce a more stable product
    • Assess ingredient quality and stability to ensure finished product stability
    • Use accelerated storage techniques to gain an insight into the shelf-life of different formulations and/or processing conditions quickly
  • Gettyimages 1141999114 (1)

    Packaging testing

     

    • Identify packaging solutions to mitigate shelf-life issues
    • Assess the impact of different packaging formats on product stability
  • Q Exactive RD 4676 HR

    Problem solving & troubleshooting

    • Investigate causes of product deterioration and failure during shelf-life
    • Identify solutions to resolve unexpected issues.

How shelf life testing can benefit product development

Read our recent feature in Food Navigator

Shelf life frequently asked questions

  •  

    It is not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended that you understand the shelf life of your product in the final packaging. It is important to select the storage conditions to mimic how the product will be sold and stored, both in your distribution channel and by the consumer. The consequences of a shelf life failure of a commercialised product can be very significant and can result in customer complaints, as well as a loss of loyal customers, market share, a costly product withdrawal and damage to brand and business image.

  •  

    Food products can be stored under accelerated storage conditions, speeding up any deterioration to enable evaluation of the shelf life. This is performed alongside real time testing. The challenge is selecting the relevant accelerated storage conditions to avoid causing ‘false’ deterioration or changes in the product that would not occur under normal storage conditions. Selecting the relevant testing to undertake is crucial, as some analytical techniques can be used to predict changes upon storage. Some analytical instruments can provide rapid estimations of shelf life which is particularly useful when developing and reformulating products. We design studies on a product specific basis so please contact us to discuss your needs further.

  •  

    Ideally, it is important to understand what your shelf life failure mechanism is and then design your study around this. If you do not know the mechanism, we can help by reviewing the ingredients, product format, processing and packaging to determine the likely product failure mechanism. However, it is still important to ensure that you include a broad range of testing, such as microbiological, chemical and sensory.

  •  

    This depends upon the food product to be tested, the anticipated shelf life, the design of the study and testing required. Typically studies last months and maybe even years depending upon the product.

  •  

    Yes, we can support with this aspect. We would start with a scoping call to understand more about your specific food product in terms of formulation and packaging as well as storage and distribution channels. From this, our technical experts will design a study specific to your product to confirm its shelf life.

Contact us

Need to get in touch? Please complete the enquiry form or call us on:

Switchboard: +44 (0)118 918 4000

Customer Services: +44 (0)118 918 4076

We value your trust when sharing your personal data with us. We always treat your data in a fair and respectful manner limited to the purpose above mentioned. If you would like to know more about how we handle your data, please read our privacy notice.