Food First Blog | Tip of the Week: Shelf-Life Modes of Failure

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Tip of the Week: Shelf-Life Modes of Failure
Tip of the Week: Shelf-Life Modes of Failure

As a food manufacturer, you know that ingredients and formulations are moving targets. Whether you're considering clean label options, innovative new ingredients, or PHO replacements, knowing how these modifications impact your overall product quality is critical to meeting customer expectations.

In the R&D lab at AIB International, shelf-life analysis is one of our many available technical services that helps clients define important product quality characteristics. Modes of failure, as related to bakery product shelf-life, can be determined through food safety/microbiological testing, organoleptic evaluations, measurement of textural changes, and other analytical tests as the product ages.

Over time, all baked goods will undergo changes that will negatively impact their eating quality. It is important for manufacturers to determine at what point the product no longer meets established company quality expectations. This is a critical decision since quality criteria are typically aligned with consumer expectations.  

Because shelf-life issues are product dependent, it is important to identify common faults that tend to occur over storage.

For example, crackers have a low moisture content, therefore, do not typically have an issue with mold growth. Common modes of failure for crackers include product staling and rancidity.

  • Staling, a texture related concern where crackers can become too tough or are no longer crisp, can be measured in multiple ways including organoleptic/taste tests, texture analysis (using specialized equipment and experts to interpret results), and moisture test of the product to determine moisture gain over time.  
  • Rancidity, another possible mode of failure possible for crackers, is caused by oxidation of the fat in the product over time that results in undesirable flavors. This mode of failure can be measured with organoleptic/taste tests in combination with peroxide value measurement over time.

Product shelf-life evaluation and mode of failure determination is ideally conducted in real time to provide actionable data that shows how your product changes in real life conditions.

Food producers know that meeting consumer quality expectations impacts product sales and bolsters the financial success of their business. Understanding your product quality and shelf-life is the first step on this path to success. Start by engaging the experts at AIB International to help you design, test, interpret results, and determine next steps for your products to maintain the critical characteristics that will keep your customers coming back for more. 

Whether it's microbiological, rancidity, or moisture migration, our experts understand the modes of failure that shorten a product's shelf-life and offer solutions to help reduce their impact. Using controlled conditions, we'll test your product in real-time to offer the most accurate depiction of how it will perform in the market. Check out how we can help you improve shelf-life today!

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