DDM , DLC , DLUO... We hear a lot about the shelf life of food products and it's not always very clear... I suggest you better understand these crazy acronyms and show you how we manage this at Nüttree for our Energy-Balls .
PRODUCT LIFESPAN, QUÉSACO?
Let's start by understanding what the shelf life of a food product is: it is the time during which the product will be stable from a microbiological and organoleptic point of view. I imagine some of you are already lost reading these terms, but let me enlighten you:
Microbiological stability is the period during which a product is not contaminated by bacteria, yeasts or molds which can have unpleasant or even dangerous consequences.
Organoleptic stability is the duration during which the product is still acceptable from the point of view of taste, odor, texture and appearance, we speak of hedonic acceptance of the product.
If there is a microbiological risk for the health of the consumer, a DLC (Use By Date) is applied, which means that after this date the product is no longer microbiologically stable . It is therefore advisable not to exceed this date even if certain exceptions exist.
We recognize a DLC with the term “To be consumed until…”
If the degradation of the product is solely linked to a change in taste, odor, texture or appearance, then a DDM (Minimum Durability Date) formerly called DLUO (Optimal Use By Date) is applied. This means that after this date the product is likely to be less beautiful or less good than at the start of its life, however it does not represent any danger it is therefore possible to consume it after this DDM, know that :)
We recognize the DDM with the term “To be consumed preferably before…”
The challenge for manufacturers is to create products with a sufficient lifespan to more easily manage their distribution.
THE PROBLEM ?
Today the norm is to use all means to extend the lifespan of products and in the vast majority of cases these means are not clean!
Most of the time, additives and preservatives are used for:
- Microbiologically stabilize ( DLC ) : acidifiers, antioxidants, sulphites, etc.
- Stabilize organoleptic characteristics ( DDM ) : texturing agents, flavorings, sweeteners, colorings, added sugars, etc.
These additives can unfortunately have a harmful effect on our health because when we ingest them, our body will break them up and this will generate very small molecules which can then be absorbed and end up for example in the liver, this accumulation of foreign molecules then induces the appearance of diseases. These additives are not supposed to be consumed because they are little or not at all natural and therefore unknown and useless for our body, moreover I talk about this subject in the last article which focuses on the composition of the snacks that the found on the market.
Additives but not only that! Technological means are also used to improve lifespan. These are generally intense heat treatments which can degrade food matrices. Result: the nutritional potential is impacted, for example a product that will be treated at very high temperature will see its vitamins partly destroyed because they are very sensitive to heat.
HOW DO WE MANAGE THE LIFESPAN OF ENERGY BALLS AT NÜTTREE?
We opted for NATURAL (and gourmet) snacks . Yes ! We trust nature so that our products are safe for you and good for as long as possible :)
The key to preserving Energy-Balls is our dried fruits, they allow us to obtain a finished product with a very low free water content! And yes, free water represents a danger because it is available to participate in chemical and especially microbiological degradation mechanisms. Our friends bacteria, yeasts and molds need water to develop and colonize a product, so our Energy-Balls are a hostile environment for them and that's good for you! We are therefore lucky to be able to add a DDM and not a DLC , just like the vast majority of energy bars.
When it comes to taste and appearance, what is the risk?
The risk is that our products will be less beautiful and less good over time. Naturally, Energy Balls dry out, harden and the ingredients that compose them degrade.
So the R&D team works to delay these phenomena as much as possible.
We focus on ingredients with strong and original tastes , we optimize recipes as best as possible to have the most attractive texture and appearance possible and we have considered the packaging method for good conservation with our resealable bags !
We also analyze the scientific phenomena involved and we improve our process at all stages of production.
But you know, nature is powerful so we accept that some of our products have a shorter shelf life than others, such as Energy-Ball Choco-Coco and Matcha-Goji which contain coconut. which deteriorates rapidly. We tried to replace coconut but fans of the Choco-Coco Energy ball dissuaded us.
You will have understood, at Nüttree we have not taken the easy route by using additives or by resorting to technological processes. We have worked to the source of the problem and we have accepted that our products must be consumed more quickly than industrial snacks, that's all! ;)
Choose the freshest products possible, those without additives and dare to consume them after their DDM!