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Shelf life

Project: Determination of the shelf life of food and drink products – ‘forcing’ as an approach to accelerated shelf life testing

All sectors of the food and drink industry are under increasing pressure to rapidly develop and launch new and innovative products to maintain market share. Part of the product development cycle is to set a suitable shelf life. For ambient stable products with long shelf life (6 months plus), commercial pressure means it is rarely feasible for full shelf life evaluations to have been completed prior to product launch. For the chilled foods sector, although the shelf-lives are much shorter, they might extend to 12 weeks or more for some products and there is still a desire to have the shelf-life results in under half this time. Chemical, biochemical and microbiological changes may be induced when the product is held under accelerated conditions that would not otherwise occur, thus negating the results from such tests. This project will validate the 'comparison approach' as a method for accelerated shelf life testing. The method requires the boundaries of selecting 'a similar product' to be defined and to be validated.

Project outputs