Worried about products on your shelf expiring? Feeling the pressure to serve food without potentially harmful additives or preservatives? Stressed about limited storage space and possible food waste from overordering? Or the potential of not enough food from underordering? We understand your pain! And we know that the pandemic has only added to your challenges. Let’s take a closer look at the balance in serving more fresh, natural food options with a reliable shelf life for your program.

Maintaining Freshness

Shelf life has been more important than ever as school districts and food distributors manage unprecedented supply and demand changes during COVID. While there’s a comfort to knowing that the food you have stocked will last at least a few months before hitting the expiration or best by dates, the other question that comes to mind is “how do items stay fresh for so long?”

To ensure our baked products remain fresh for at least 6 months, we keep shelf life in mind from the very beginning of recipe development. The low-moisture activity of our products also helps to keep them low-risk when it comes to shelf life. When packaging is in-tact, sealed and properly stored, without exposure to extreme temperatures, you can expect excellent quality up until and shortly after the “best by” date. Shelf life can also be extended for at least a year with the proper knowledge of freezing and thawing.

All of our products are tested for shelf life through third party audits and in house testing. These both include sensory testing to ensure that taste, smell and visual appeal are maintained through the best-by date. Our quality testing is verified annually to ensure freshness is maintained.

Ingredient Concerns

While preservatives and additives help make food items more sustainable and affordable, many of these ingredients come with concerning long-term impacts. In fact, decisions makers at school districts across the country have established banned or unwanted ingredient lists for school foodservice programs to help keep kids safe. These measures remove potentially harmful ingredients from the menu, including preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate and tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).

While there are safer ingredient choices that help extend shelf life, the Appleways brand of Darlington Snacks goes a step further to remove all preservatives from our products. We use natural, functional ingredients that enhance the flavor profile and taste, but not ingredients that are solely added for the purpose of preservation.

Product Availability, Without Waste

Another element of maintaining a reliable shelf life is considering what happens when an expiration date is reached and foods are no longer ideal to serve students. When items are overstocked or shelf life is too short for the needed storage time, these items end up being thrown out. Food waste has been an increasing concern in recent years.

To keep fresh products always available, all of our products are baked weekly and baked-to-order for our customers. We ensure that all of our snacks are no more than two weeks old when they arrive at our distributors’ facilities. Always conscious of food waste and looking for ways to support our communities, we then donate these items to be used before the best-by date.

When you need available, reliable and affordable snack options, we are here for you. Browse of wide variety of sweet treats and savory snacks today!