Many companies face challenges correctly identifying a product’s best by date, resulting often in wasting food that is still acceptable. Shelf-life testing can be difficult and a resource drain, causing many companies to delay or avoid attempts at measuring shelf-life. This workshop will introduce the Shelf-Life Simplified Paradigm, which streamlines shelf-life investigations on shelf stable products by narrowing the scope to only consider modes of failure applicable for the expected water activity range of the product.


By eliminating the need to track modes of failure that are not likely for the product, collection of time series data that quantifies the mode of failure is much easier. This time series data is needed to construct effective shelf-life models. Traditionally, shelf-life models would only account for temperature as a variable. However, simplified shelf life incorporates the hygrothermal time model, which is the only shelf-life model in the literature that contains both temperature and water activity as variables.


This workshop will provide examples of how-to set up an accelerated shelf-life study and then use this data to create a hygrothermal time model to predict shelf life at a range of storage conditions. In addition, this workshop will provide instruction on how water activity controls microbial spoilage and how to prevent and model moisture migration. Finally, the workshop will cover failures related to texture changes and how establishing a critical water activity can prevent failures. Attendees will be equipped to pursue attainable shelf-life testing on their own products and prevent future product failures through water activity control. Important note: This approach is not applicable to investigating the shelf life of fresh products and the workshop will not address shelf-life testing of things like fresh produce.


Maya Salazar