The successful retail marketing of frozen foods began over a half century ago, and the rapid growth of sales since that time reflects consumer satisfaction in the high quality of products, year-round availability, and general convenience in product use. Because of consumer appreciation of product values, more frozen foods are sold each year and new products are introduced to swell the total sales.
Various types of frozen foods have different stabilities in frozen storage depending on how quickly they develop abnormal flavors and whether they discolor easily. Different lots of the same type of frozen food may have different stabilities, depending on many factors including but not limited to the quality of raw material and product ingredients, processing, and packaging materials. Storage life can be extended significantly as storage temperatures become colder. For most products, a temperature of 0 °F (-18 °C) or below is required if storage is expected to exceed 6 months. The following table gives the relative stability at 0 °F (-18 °C) for several types of frozen foods.
The following are general suggestions to Practical Storage Life:
- There is no reason for maintaining freezer storage at -20 °F (-29 °C) for any commodities except for unpackaged fat fish and some high-fat ice cream products.
- A temperature of -10 to -15 °F (-23 to -26 °C) may be desirable for lean fish and precooked foods without gravy if they are to be held for well over 6 months in storage. 3
- All other commodities may be stored at 0 °F (-18 °C) or colder even if they are to be held for longer than 1 year.
- Rapid pre-cooling and ultra-rapid freezing are of particular benefit to fruits, vegetables, and fat meats, and of least benefit to lean meats.
- Regulations requiring all frozen foods to be stored colder than 0 °F (-18 °C) and for not more than 1 year may be unrealistic. Specific products may benefit from colder storage temperatures.
- Quality of product entering storage, method of processing and handling, and method of packaging have a profound influence on storage life of the frozen product. The warehouse therefore should be aware of these pre-storage conditions when receiving products in order to protect against claims that quality has deteriorated during storage.
The PIMM™ Supplier Delivery System provides our customers with a customized quality management solution for inbound deliveries. iPIMM™ SuD is the first software platform that elevates the traditional “temperature logger” to integrated cold chain solution allowing the driver to guarantee a quality delivery.
Our PIMM™ Analytics (AI engine) system has access to all of the product data throughout the distribution process. The storage and shipment data is analyzed by our AI engine in PIMM™ PPT – it is then re-analyzed with the product specification and traceability data to determine the number of “Lost Days” of shelf Life. The last calculation is to apply the number of “Lost “Days” to the “Sell by Date” which will determine the new Estimate Shelf Life Date.