Stays fresh longer in the freezer


For something as simple as an expiration date, there sure are a lot of varieties. Some products say “Sell by”, others say “Use by” or “Best before”, and still others just revert to “Expiration” or “Expires” or a suitable abbreviation for one of those.

As another wrinkle, I’ve seen a few items that provide storage guidelines to supplement the expiration date. These might take the form of “Keeps longer when refrigerated”, “Stays fresh longer in the freezer”, and so on. But this raises a question: if you refrigerate or freeze those items, are they good past the expiration date, and if so, for how long?

Obviously, the answer will depend on the specific type of product, how it responds to refrigeration, and other factors. But for those companies that are already printing the type of message I mentioned right on the package, it seems like quantifying the term “longer” shouldn’t be too difficult. In other words, they could just re-run the original tests that were used to determine the expiration date, but with the product refrigerated or frozen during that span of time. Then, the message could be changed to something like “Good for up to 3 months past the expiration date when kept in freezer”.

Granted, this approach means more work for the manufacturer and more words to cram onto the packaging. But it also gives consumers a better idea of the longevity and value the product offers, which may lead to a significant increase in sales.