Not Your Mentorís Shelf-Life Methods
J. F. Clemmings, M. H. Notturno, L. Occhino, and M. Porter. Merlin Development, Inc., Plymouth, MN, U.S.A. Cereal Foods World 55(3):132-135.
We all know how we are supposed to conduct effective product development: consumer-validated concepts, formulation, processing, consumer testing, optimization, and product quality shelf-life testing before product introduction. We hear you snickering. When was the last time you followed the plan? How many of your products go to market before product quality shelf-life testing is complete or even conducted? So, whatís a scientist to do? Skip shelf-life testing? Never. However, there are some other methods that can be used to reduce the risk of quality failure: gathering data up front (consumer complaints, product comparisons, and processing and distribution information), understanding basic modes of failure, formulating with shelf life in mind, working with packaging and evaluating shelf life early on, and accelerating shelf-life testing when possible. Used together, these methods may buy us (and our product) time in the market while we complete traditional shelf-life testing.