What is shelf life testing?

Shelf Life testing is a collection of analytical, chemical, microbiological and sensory testing. The objective of shelf life testing is to show how a product changes as it ages. Furthermore, provide information to help you set: use by/sell by/best by and expiration dates.

Shelf Life basics

The shelf life of a food product begins when the food is finished processing and packaged. Note, when preparing a shelf life study you want to focus on ingredients, processing, packaging, and storage conditions.

A shelf life study is only valid for the specific set of ingredients, packaging, and processing that you have tested. If changes are made to any of these qualities than a new study should be run so please ensure that products are in their finished stage before starting shelf life testing.

Products may have regulations or standards specific to their industry for usage of “sell-by” dates and “best-by” dates. Do your research and figure out where your product falls before doing any testing.

What type of testing is necessary for my product?

The type of testing that you do throughout a shelf life study is highly variable. The testing is dependent upon your product and what information you’re most interested in. What testing is most useful can vary depending on product, storage conditions and any claims that may be on the product.

How much of a sample do I need to provide for shelf life testing?

The amount of sample you will need for shelf life testing is dependent on the length of your study, sampling intervals, and what testing is being run. Following a discussion about your study, this information will be provided on the shelf life study quote to ensure that enough sample is provided.


For a complete list of shelf life study options like tests, storage conditions and study designs call Jordan Sabez 402.590.2985.

Click the link for videos, content, infographics, and faqs on shelf life.