To make things simple, fresh produce shelf life prediction tells you when individual fruits or vegetables will expire.
There are a few methods of doing so, but all help to prevent food loss and waste and improve freshness.
Why Would You Predict Fruit and Vegetable Shelf Life?
Companies in the food supply chain ship huge amounts of fruits and vegetables from farm to fork.
It takes a large amount of energy, time, and money to grow fresh produce. Yet, one-third of all food is wasted. This number may even be higher for fruits and vegetables.
Food loss, which occurs in the supply chain, is caused by several factors that decrease the shelf life of fresh produce. You cannot assess per-item quality by measuring cold chain temperature and humidity alone.
Companies assess the quality of their produce when selling or buying it, but have no objective standard to easily make decisions.
Walmart plans to save $2 billion over five years by managing freshness.
What is Fresh Produce Shelf Life Prediction?
Fresh produce shelf life prediction determines how long a certain fruit or vegetable will be safe to sell or eat.
This technology is important because shelf life in fresh produce can vary widely.
A study by Zest Labs showed that shelf life varied as much as 21 days for romaine hearts and 12 days for strawberries within stores.
With this level of uncertainty, wouldn’t knowing the real shelf life be nice?
Understanding the real shelf life of a batch of products enables better freshness management. It also allows for FEFO instead of FIFO (described below).
As seen in the images above, if you shipped the newer strawberries last then it likely would rot before a customer can eat it.
If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to read our free Ultimate Guide to Fresh Produce Shelf Life Prediction.
How to Predict Shelf Life
The most common way of predicting shelf life is still static testing, which involves letting produce rot and seeing how long it takes.
Technology has made it much easier in recent years to predict shelf life. There are four major technologies to predict fresh produce shelf life.
Your application will determine the best solution to pick. If you want employees to determine shelf life in under 1 second by with a handheld device then spectroscopy may be the best option. Spectroscopy has been used in the food industry for various applications, as well.
What if You Knew the Freshness of Every Product?
Once you know the shelf life of your products, you have an objective standard to base decisions on.
This makes inspections simple, improves logistics, and helps ensure products don’t go to waste.
OneThird Offers Leading Shelf Life Prediction