Shelf Life

A shelf life analysis should give a clear picture of the products expected shelf life.

During the development of a new product or assessment of a reformulated product it is often neccesary to determine it's shelf life. (shelf stability). In Accelerated Shelf Life Trials (ASLT) the rate of change in the product is accelerated by adjusting some of the controlling variables.

Over many years Matt Solutions (as Formula Foods) have run side by side experiments with 'real' time versus 'accelerated' trials to develop the experience necessary to perform effective ASLT for many food types, helping to reduce product's time to market.

To find out if ASLT is appropriate for your product, please contact us to discuss your needs.

Water Activity Analysis

Water Activity is an important factor affecting food quality, safety and shelf life. Through establishing specific points water activity can be used to control microbial spoilage, moisture migration, chemical, enzymatic reactivity, physical and textural properties, lipid oxidation, browning reactions, vitamin degradation.
Mätt Solutions have the capabilities to accurately analyse water activity on all types of samples including ones with volatiles.


Moisture Sorption Isotherm

An Isotherm is an analysis that shows physical changes including the caking and crystallisation point of a product at specific temperature and humidity. It involves measuring weight change (moisture content) in relation to water activity (aw) formulating a curve that is very specific to each product. Isotherms help us predict shelf life, assist us in recommending the right packaging, and diagnose and solve problems in product. Using the Meter Vapour Sorption Analyser (VSA), Mätt Solutions generates fast, high-resolution Dynamic Dew Point (DDI) and Static (DVS) isotherms that give us a better understanding of product vs package vs environment performance.

We can predict performance in different environments and packaging with dual testing modes and sophisticated modelling software that turns data into meaningful information needed to for example establish control points applied to manufacture, monitoring, storage, and shipping products.
The final result of the process is that clients know how much for instance to dry their products to avoid caking and clumping, avoid over-drying to lose precious weight and risk lipid oxidation and also avoid crystallization


Texture Analysis

Texture of your products is tracked throughout the shelf life trial to monitor changes in firmness, hardness, elasticity, resilience, springiness, cohesiveness, chewiness, adhesiveness and strength.


Microbiological Testing

Using an IANZ accredited lab for our micro testing, we deliver results adhering to AOAC methods for all biological / micro testing as required.


Fat Oxidation/Rancidity Analysis

Oxidation and rancidity are monitored through testing peroxide, p-anisidine and free fatty acids (FFA). Using both Water Activity (aw) and gas analysis, Mätt Solutions can help you determine exactly what critical control points need to be established to avoid Oxidation, Lipid Oxidation and Rancidity.


Gas Analysis O2/CO2 of MAP Packs (Modified Atmosphere Packaging)

Mätt Solutions utilises Ametek Mocon Dansensor CheckMate 3 gas analyser to monitor the Oxygen (O2), Carbon dioxide (CO2) and balance (Nitrogen - N2) of samples that have been gas flushed. Some samples are not gas flushed but contain Oxygen (O2) absorbers to control Oxygen (O2) by absorption. If not controlled some products absorb the Oxygen (O2) which leads to oxidation, rancidity, mold growth and spoilage. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is also monitored over the Shelf life of the product to determine if it is getting produced by the product or absorbed by the product. This has direct implications to shelf life.


MAP LAB (Modified Atmosphere Packaging)

Unique to Mätt Solutions, we gas flush your products at different Oxygen (O2), Carbon dioxide (CO2) and Nitrogen (N2) levels. We then carry out a full shelf life of the product taking into consideration packaging performance and at the end determine the best gas mix ratio for optimal shelf life.



Packaging Transmission Rates

It is vital to ensure the clients understand how the packaging used will perform in different markets / environmental conditions to ensure shelf life is maintained. Oxygen Transmission Rates (OTR) and Water Vapour Transmission Rates (WVTR) are key properties of all food packaging types. These transmission rates determine how fast a package will allow a product to absorb Oxygen (O2) and moisture from the environment. The packaging manufacturer’s certificate of analysis (COA) usually has these two attributes listed but the test conditions do not usually match most environmental conditions. We test the packaging to determine these attributes in some cases at modified conditions to match the end point market destination. 



Light Conditions

Light has a significant impact on ageing. This especially affects ready to eat products in the chillers at the supermarkets but also other dry products in clear “see through” packaging. Mätt Solutions can modify the amount of light/ intensity your product is exposed to over time to determine the impact of light.



The thickness or thinness of your product is tracked for changes over time. This usually indicates the stability of your product's structure in terms of gums/ stabilisers, fats, sugars, and acids, splitting and crystals forming in sugar/ salt matrices.


Vitamin Degradation

We can perform vitamin degradation studies on products if required to ascertain stability over time. This is usually performed in real-time and non-accelerated conditions.


pH Testing/Tracking

The product’s pH is analysed and tracked during the shelf life to determine if it is changing. pH an acidic or basic property a product usually in solution/ semi solid state. The lower the pH value the more acidic a product is while higher values mean more basic or alkaline.             


Microscopic Photography To Show Physical Changes

Photographic / use of Tagarno Digital Microscope for tracking and Colorimetric analysis is performed to track colour change during ageing.


Temperature And Humidity Controlled Systems Using iMonnit Data Loggers

Our modified conditions, specific to the products requirements, are tracked and logged for the entire shelf life analysis period both in ambient and accelerated environmental conditions.