Maximizing the Shelf Life of Finished Goods
Food products are intended to move quickly so that they do not sit on shelves for extended periods of time. However, entities that offer food products to consumers benefit from maximized shelf life because it gives them additional time to sell the products and reduce spoilage.
To meet these demands, food manufacturers must produce goods that maintain their original quality — appearance and flavor — longer. For example, breads and buns that typically last a week to 10 days may need to remain soft and mold-free for 2-3 weeks. This means combating factors that affect shelf life such as oxidation and mold growth.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of how oxidation and microbial growth occur, list some options for prevention, and introduce you to some specific innovations that can aid in maximizing the shelf life of the finished goods.
The Impact of Oxidation & Microbial Growth on Shelf Life
Oxidation is a chain reaction that occurs in the presence of oxygen that can cause discoloration, off-flavors, and off-odors in food products. It is affected by the types of ingredients in the product, as well as processing, packaging, and storing methods.
Antioxidants combat oxidation by donating hydrogen atoms to quench free radicals. This forms a stable antioxidant radical that is unable to participate in peroxide propagation reaction. More simply, antioxidants:
- Prevent or delay oxidation
- Help food keep its color and stay fresh
- Extend shelf life
It is also beneficial to incorporate high-stability vegetable oils into recipes and production processes because they offer the greatest resistance to oxidation.
Microbial growth in baked goods could begin as soon as the product leaves the oven because of the presence of airborne mold spores in an unsanitary manufacturing environment. In the presence of moisture and heat, the spores will multiply until green mold spots appear.
To prevent mold growth:
- Use mold inhibitors or synthetic preservatives
- Lower the pH of the final product
- Elect to use stainless steel product-contact surfaces and keep them clean and sanitary
- Use optimum baking and cooling conditions to maintain low water activity in finished products
- Use appropriate packaging methods and materials, such as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)
How Avatar Helps Maximize Shelf Life
Avatar Corporation manufactures and sells a wide range of food ingredients, release agents and lubricants for the food industry. Our product line includes Avox™ series antioxidants. These Kosher-certified products inhibit oxidation to preserve taste, odor, and color integrity in a variety of products. Many Avox™ products are liquid blends designed for ease of use in manufacturing environments where adding powder to a blend is undesirable. Avatar can also manufacture custom-blended formulations to meet specific needs.
Another Avatar innovation designed to maximize shelf life in the baking and food processing industry is our ProKote® 5018-AN release agent. It is a water-miscible solution that is an excellent alternative to typical pan oils that are commonly comprised of various vegetable and mineral oil blends. ProKote® 5018-AN is an emulsified release agent ideal for use in high-moisture applications (such as bagel production) or high-temperature processing of greater than 450°F (such as dried fruit manufacturing). Due to its alternative composition vs. oil-based release agents, it allows for more efficient pan washing, resulting in energy savings. ProKote® 5018-AN’s proprietary preservative package delivers a superior level of protection from spoilage organisms such as bacteria, yeast, and mold.
Avatar is committed to quality and safety, holding the highest level of certifications in the industry. To get pricing, order a sample, connect with a territory manager, or for other inquiries, contact us.